Last updated 10 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi
Ten-man record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia lifted their sixth KPL Super Cup title after beating FKF Shield holders Bandari 1-0 in yesterday’s 2019/2020 Kenyan Premier League season curtain-raiser tie, at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.
Lawrence Juma’s second half deflected goal is all that K’Ogalo needed to reclaim the trophy they lost to Kariobangi Sharks last season.
However, Gor, who finished the game with ten men after youngster Tobias Otieno was sent off for a second bookable offence following a reckless challenge on William Wadri in the 80th minute, had to dig deep to beat a resilient Bandari.
This was Steve Polack’s first win as Gor coach since he succeeded Hassan Oktay on August 6.
The new found rivals were using the tie to prepare for this weekend’s crunch return leg matches of Caf competitions in Nairobi and Khartoum.
While Bandari will be in Sudan to battle with Al Ahly Shendi on Saturday, K’ogalo will be entertaining Burundi’s Aigle Noir CS at Kasarani.
“It’s a great feeling to win my first trophy with Gor Mahia. This is a huge motivation ahead of Champions League return leg,” said Polack.
But for his Bandari counterpart Bernard Mwalala, profligacy upfront cost them again.
“As usual, we outplayed Gor Mahia and created many chances, but they just got one and punished us,” said Mwalala.
Both teams started the match cautiously, but it was Gor Mahia who created a couple of half chances in the opening ten minutes.
Ghanain import Francis Afriye threatened with his first touch on the ball just after kick off, but his cheeky header at the near post went wide before his fellow new signing Clifton Miheso’s feeble shot was easily gathered by Bandari goalkeeper Michael Wanyika.
The dockers responded through Wadri’s corner kick, but Collins Agade blasted wide from close range. Moments later, Gor captain Kenneth Muguna saw his glancing header from Miheso’s delivery go over the bar at the opposite end.
Instrumental Wadri nearly gave Bandari the lead on the quarter hour mark, but his long range effort went inches wide.
Muguna then forced a fine save from Wanyika before Afriyie earned a free-kick in a promising position after being fouled by lanky defender Brian Otieno.
However, the former Nzoia Sugar centre-half made amends to head away Samuel Onyango’s effort.
Gor’s best chance came on the half hour mark when Afriyie pounced on Danson Chetambe’s back pass in the box, but Wanyika reacted first to deny the West African.
Minutes later, Yema dispossessed Tobias Otieno at the edge of the box, but the Congolese’s feeble flick couldn’t trouble goalkeeper Robert Mapigano.
Charles Momanyi came close to putting Gor in front five minutes into the second half, but the former Kakamega Homeboyz defender headed wide Onyango’s pin pointed cross.
Benjamin Mosha replaced Kenga in the 55th minute, while the attacking duo of Kennedy Otieno and Nicholas Kipkirui came on for Onyango and Afriyie on the Gor side.
But in the 63rd minute, Juma broke the deadlock with a deflected shot at the edge of the box after pouncing on a loose ball.
The goal came barely a minute after Mosha had wasted a glorious scoring opportunity at the opposite end.
Gor had to play the last ten minutes with ten men after Tobias Otieno was sent off for a second bookable offence following a dangerous tackle on Wadri.
The dockers tried hard to push for an equaliser, but the numerically disadvantaged K’Ogalo held their nerves to kick start the new season with a trophy.