Last updated 8 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi
Gor Mahia have a mountain to climb in this Sunday’s away return leg of the CAF Confederation Cup playoffs against DC Motema Pembe after being frustrated to a 1-1 draw by the Congolese giants at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.
The record Kenyan champions had to play the last 10 minutes with a man less after defender Charles Momanyi was sent off for handling a goal-bound shot in the 78th minute.
Ivorian striker Yikpe Gislain came off the bench to give K’Ogalo the lead with his first touch in the 63rd minute only for William Likuta to cut his celebration short with an equaliser 10 minutes later.
A visibly disappointed Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack said:
“That’s what happens when you don’t take your chances. In football, you must score goals. We hope to do much better and score away in Congo.”
Gor Mahia threatened first in the third minute but Lawrance Juma’s shot at the edge of the box went wide before Kenneth Muguna’s deflected shot was easily gathered by Motema Pembe’s goalkeeper Barel Mouko.
The Congolese giants were forced to make an early substitution in the 20th minute with injured left back Ngimbi Mapangu paving way for Henoc Inonga.
Three minutes later, indecision cost Nicholas Kipkirui a scoring chance when the K’Ogalo forward laid off a pass to his teammate instead of shooting after being released through from the midfield.
Motema Pembe responded immediately and almost broke the deadlock when Vinny Kombe dispossessed Joash Onyango in the area, but the Kenyan international recovered quickly to block his goal-bound effort to the relief of the K’Ogalo faithful.
But Kombe, who appeared to be a constant threat to the Gor’s backline, was at it again in the 35th minute beating Onyango at goal, but his poor judgement saw him pass the ball, instead of shooting.
Moments later, William Likuta forced a fine save from Gor custodian Robert Mapigano before overlapping defender Ikoyo Iyembe’s effort from the right channel kissed the crossbar.
K’Ogalo’s best chance of the game came on the stroke of halftime when Boniface Omondi missed a sitter from Dickson Ambundo’s pin-point delivery.
Moments later, Kipkirui’s header hit the side-netting with the keeper already beaten.
Gor came back into the second half a more rejuvenated side but Omondi and Ambundo wasted two scoring opportunities 10 minutes after restart.
Gor coach Steven Polack then made a tactical change bringing on Ivorian striker Yikpe Gislain for winger Boniface Omondi.
His impact was immediately felt as he gave Gor the lead with his first touch of the game in the 63rd minute.
Muguna nearly doubled the lead three minutes later, but Geoffrey Ochieng’s long-throw ball was too heavy for him.
Motema Pembe drew level nine minutes later through Likuta’s strike when he pounced on a rebound from a free kick.
Gor were then reduced to 10 men in the 78th minute after Momanyi was given a straight red card for handling a goal-bound shot.
Mapigano saved Gor Mahia more blushes as he parried to safety Junior Kone’s penalty kick.
Moments later, Tobias Otieno made a brilliant goal line clearance to stop substitute Junior Mbele’s effort.