Last updated 10 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi
Clifton Miheso returned to haunt his former club AFC Leopards scoring a goal and providing an assist as Gor Mahia continued their Mashemeji derby dominance with an emphatic 4-1 victory at Kasarani Stadium, on Sunday.
Lanky Ivorian striker Gislein Yikpe gave Gor the lead with a second half brace in a span of eight minutes before Miheso, who provided an assist for Yikpe’s second goal, put the game beyond AFC’s reach with a screamer in the 79th minute.
Three minutes later, Tresor Ndikumana pulled a goal back for Ingwe but his celebration was cut short by Lawrence Juma’s 88th minute strike that sealed K’Ogalo’s huge win.
The victory saw Gor (18 points), who have two games in hand, leapfrog Tusker (17 points) at the top of the table as AFC dropped to the seventh.
It was a superb bounce-back for the record Kenyan champions from last Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Mathare United and a brilliant derby debut for English coach Steve Polack.
“I’m over the moon. It is unbelievable after a scrappy first half, we ended up winning. I’m really proud of my players. They showed the true character of a champion. The half-time pep-talk won it for us,” said a delighted Polack.
While Polack was having fun addressing the press, his AFC Leopards counterpart Casa Mbungo was not interested in the post-match interview.
The two rivals staged a cautious start into what turned out to be a physical game, but it is Leopards who appeared to be on the front foot.
AFC dominated possession for the better part of the first half but failed to convert that into goals.
While Mbungo deployed an attacking style of play as they tried to build up from the back with impressive transition, K’Ogalo resorted to sit-back and counter-attack on most of the occasions.
It is evident Leopards collapsed when they were forced to make an early substitution with Austin Ochieng replacing an injured Collins Shichenje in the 28th minute.
But it is Gor who threatened first in the second minute when Yikpe controlled the ball at the edge of the box only for Seneji to block his shot.
Leopards grew in confidence as the game progressed with Hansel Otieno forcing Joash Onyango to commit a foul outside the box in the sixth minute but Isaac Kipyegon’s resulting free-kick was deflected to a fruitless corner.
Moments later, John Makwata dribbled into the area, beat his marker but his shot was blocked by a self sacrificing Gor defender.
Gor came close to breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute but Lawrence Juma’s perfectly executed pass in the box was too heavy for Yikpe.
Leopards responded in the 27th minute but Soter Kayumba’s thumping header from Ndikumana’s corner kick crashed against the crossbar before Bernard Ondiek missed a sitter from Kenneth Muguna’s delivery.
Leopards coach Casa Mbungo was forced to make an early substitution with Ochieng coming on for the injured Shichenje. This saw Eugene Mukangala come back into the holding role as Ochieng pushed forward.
Ochieng’s impact was felt immediately he dribbled into the box, but his goal-bound effort was intercepted by Gor defence.
Makwata forced a fine save from goalkeeper Robert Mapigano in the 40th minute before Francis Afriye failed to capitalise on Mukangula’s defensive blunder to break the deadlock on the stroke of halftime.
Yikpe nearly gave Gor the lead when he pounced on a rebound three minutes into the second half but was denied twice in succession by Leopards defence before goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan came off his line to stop Afriye’s effort.
However, Yikpe made the amends in the 55th minute when he rose above his markers to head home Muguna’s corner kick.
In Nakuru, Ulinzi Stars defeated visiting Bandari 1-0 at Afraha Stadium. Oscar Wamalwa scored the all-important goal in the 12th minute from a cross by Daniel Kago.
It was a sad week for the coastal side who went home empty handed from their two matches having fell 3-1 to Western Stima in their midweek clash in Kisumu on Wednesday.
In Narok, Sofapaka defeated Wazito 2-1.