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SPORTS

KPL: Gor edge out Ulinzi Stars to open nine-point lead

FOOTBALL By Joseph Kipsang | April 30th 2019
Nicholas Kipkirui (left) of Gor Mahia battles for the ball with Bonaventure Muchika of Ulinzi Stars during the Sportpesa Premier League Match at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru [Standard]

Gor Mahia moved nine points clear at the top of the SportPesa Premier League after edging out Ulinzi Stars 2-1 at Afraha Stadium yesterday.

Despite having played one match less, Gor Mahia fans can begin to celebrate as the club moves to 58 points, nine points ahead of second-placed Sofapaka, who drew 2-2 against Mathare United at the weekend.

The league champions have been on a roll since being bundled out of continental football where they also made history by qualifying to the quarter-final stages of the Confederations Cup.

Faced with a fixture backlog, Gor Mahia have coped well picking maximum points in most of their pending matches. At the weekend they hit Tusker 2-0 proving they have no equal on the local scene.

Against Ulinzi Stars yesterday both teams started the match on a high note as the ball flowed freely from box to box.  Gor Mahia’s Erisa Ssekisambu broke the deadlock inside the first minute of the match after beating James Saruni with a blockbuster.

 Oscar Wamalwa nearly scored for Ulinzi Stars in the 70th minute but his cross was cleared away by the Gor Mahia’s defenders

After a series of missed chances, Ulinzi equalised in the 76th minute after Enosh Ochieng headed home, converting John Njuguna’s powerful corner kick.

Ulinzi stars coach Benjamin Nyangweso brought in   John Njuguna and Ezekiel Okare and rested Oscar Wamalwa and Omar Borafya, a move that changed their attacking pattern resulting into their equalising goal.

The Green Army seemed to have mastered the slippery pitch following a downpour in the second half with Samuel Onyango capitalising on Ulinzi stars goalkeeper James Saruni’s blunder in the goal area to score the winning goal for the visitors in the 86th minute.   

Gor made three changes bringing in Samuel Onyango, Dennis Oliech, and Geoffrey Ochieng and rested injured Shafik Batambuze, Erisa Ssekisambu and Boniface Omondi.

Nyangweso said laxity by his defenders and the last minute blunder by goalkeeper James Saruni cost his side.

 “We could have won this match or even get a draw but we made a bad move at the back that cost us victory,” said Nyangweso.

On his part Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay said it was a tough match and getting the three points from the Ulinzi Stars was not an easy task.

“Bringing in the likes of Onyango in the last minute was tactical and that really worked for us,” Oktay said.

 

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