New signing Tito Okello scored a second-half brace to inspire defending champions Gor Mahia to a 3-1 win over Western Stima in a tight Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League match played on Monday at Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
The win saw new K’Ogallo head coach Carlos Vaz Pinto register his second win in the premier league as the defending champions moved five-place up to eight in the standings with nine points.
Samuel Onyango gave the champions the lead in the 22nd minute after heading home from a Kenneth Muguna cross before Oromchan Villa levelled the scores in the 37th minute from a rebound after Boniface Oluoch failed to hold on to Baron Oketch’s long-range effort.
In the second half, super-sub Okello restored the visitors lead in the 66th minute after heading in goal from captain Muguna’s corner kick before putting the game to bed four minutes from time with a thunderbolt strike 15-yards from goal.
Speaking after the win, Gor coach Pinto said he was happy with the win which came at a crucial time for the team which is still finding its foot in the league after their continental assignments.
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“It was a tight but good game. Very physical but in the end am happy with the maximum points. This win is important for us in building our confidence going forward as we seek to restore our status as title contenders,” said Pinto who joined Gor earlier this month.
The match started on a high note with both teams conceding early fouls with the fight for midfield dominance going physical.
Stima took control of the game in the early stages with Brian Ayoro and Austine Wahongo exchanging passes in midfield but could not get in behind the Gor defense.
In the sixth minute, Stima’s Brian Steve released Oromchan Villa with a through ball in behind Gor defense but the latter’s shot was easily saved by Oluoch.
Four minutes later, Muguna combines with Julius Ulimwengu to release Clifton Mihesowhose long-range attempts 20 yards out went wide.
Gor took control of the match, with Omingo coming close to find the net in the 14th minute after being released by Muguna.
Onyango would combine again with Miheso in the 20th minute but his effort would be saved by Samwel Odhiambo in goal for Stima.
Gor’s tempo and high pressure would soon pay for the visitors who took the lead in the 22nd minute with Onyango rising high to head into an empty net from Muguna’s cross from the right-wing.
The goal would, however, jolt Stima who went on looking for an equalizer which came in the 37th minute after numerous attempts when Villa tapped into an empty after Gor keeper Oluoch failed to hold onto Oketch’s long-range effort.
In the second half, Gor made a quick substitution by introducing new boy Tito Okello for Bertrand Konfor and the former Vipers striker opened his account for Gor in the 66th minute after heading in from a corner to restore Gor one-goal advantage.
Pinto threw in Kisumu Day’s teenage striker Benon Omala for Ulimwengu and the sub again paid off four minutes from time as the teenager combined with Okello who scored his second premier league goal and seal Gor’s third win against Stima in their last six matches.
The loss left Stima in the relegation zone, ranked 16 with five points from eight matches played.