FKF-PL: Gor Mahia take Mashemeji derby bragging rights

AFC Leopards' Jaffary Owiti and Gor Mahia's Goefrey Ochieng (left) during FKF Premier League at the Nyayo National stadium on April 21, 2024. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia went nine-points clear at the top of the FKF Premier League after taking the Mashemeji derby bragging rights with a narrow 1-0 win over arch-rivals AFC Leopards in a packed Nyayo Stadium on Sunday.

Austine Odhiambo scored Gor’s lone goal at the half hour mark after benefiting from a goalkeeping error from Ingwe shot stopper Levis Opiyo to give the league leaders a 1-0 lead.

Odhiambo backed up teammate Benson Omala for a press against Opiyo as he tried to build up play from behind, cornering him to a high profile gaffe as his clearance rebounded off Odhiambo and into the net.

Four minutes later, Opiyo’s counterpart Kevine Omondi would see red after bringing down Victor Omune outside the box and preventing a clear goal scoring opportunity, a red card that would come to prove beneficial for Gor in sealing the win.

Even with 10-men, Leopards could not break down K’Ogalo who went on to pick their 16th win of the season and continue with their title push.

The hosts, despite playing with a man advantage for majority of the game, were left to rue a missed chance to break into the top six, falling flat in a second half they dominated but couldn't get a way past substitute keeper Caleb Otieno.

The win pushed Gor further away at the summit with 57 points, nine points ahead of Kenya Police who are second with 48 points.

Speaking after the match, Gor head coach Jonathan McKinstry praised his charges for being disciplined after going down to 10-men, saying it was a champion’s mentality.

“This was amazing especially from the fans who today turned up in numbers and showed the Mashemeji derby the love. We played well and this is the type of results champions grind out when things are not going according to plan.

“We will surely plan on improving on the areas we did poorly and the drive to another title continues. Our target remains the same, to win the title and I believe taking a game at a time will push our team,” said McKinstry.

Former champions Tusker moved to third place after edging out Ulinzi Stars 1-0. The brewers are third with 46 points after Eric Kapaito scored his 10th goal of the season.

Kapaito has now closed the gap between him and current FKF Premier League top scorer Benson Omalla of Gor Mahia to within two goals. Omalla has 12 goals.

On the other hand, Muhoroni Youth’s push for survival hit another block after being held to a 0-0 by Murang’a SEAL.

The Kisumu County outfit are currently in the relegation and promotion playoff position with 26 points, two points away from safety.

Nzoia Sugar and Shabana are currently holding the bottom two positions with 17 points and 25 points.

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