Gor cage Leopards, earn ticket to battle Hull City
Record Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia booked a ticket to play English Championship side Hull City after sinking AFC on 5-4 post match penalties, at the Afraha Stadium, Nakuru on Tuesday.
Vincent Oburu blast over the crossbar the sixth spot-kick of his side, throwing away an opportunity to play Hull at the Moi Sports Centre, Kasarani on May 13, despite fighting hard to contain K’Ogalo in the regulation time, which ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Jacques Tuyisenge had shot the first penalty kick out, before Whyvonne Isuza’s was punched out by goalkeeper Shaban Odhoji.
Meddie Kagere, Godfrey Walusimbi, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo, Humphrey Mieno and Bernard Ondieki — all converted their penalties for Gor, as AFC’s Ezekiel Odera, Baker Lukooya, captain Duncan Otieno and Robinson Kamura did justice for the Leopards.
Thus, Leopards newly appointed coach Rodolfo Zapata lost in his maiden Mashemeji Derby, in a day that he was celebrating his birthday.
As if there was a pre-match between the two sides fans along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway, cars leading to Afraha in branded clubs’ colours stole the show, forcing other road users to give way.
Notably, and regrettably, the Machakos road carnage that consumed three Gor fans two weeks ago seems to have taught no lesson. A section of them still swung by doors with the cars in motion, others going to an extent of smearing with mud vehicle registration numbers, to probably get away with their ills.
There would be no goal treat in the first stanza, despite Gor showing more desire for goals.
During the halftime break, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and legendary former Kenyan international Joe Kadenge landed from two different choppers, to a deafening reception by the fans.
As the good old Kadenge walked to the VIP dais, aided by Raila, an emphatic standing ovation in the full capacity stadium just underscored the emphasis the organisers are laying on the Hull City Challenge.
Upon resumption, it was Leopards who first tested Gor, earning four corners by the 55th minute from their unfruitful attempts.
Odera was Ingwe’s main man, giving Gor’s defence no rest during the onslaughts.
Godfrey Walusimbi almost broke the deadlock from a free-kick just outside the box, but a keen Owade denied.
In the 66th, the Ugandan international curled over Leopards’ man-wall aiming to beat Owade at the right corner, but the longtime Gabriel Andika and Jairus Adira’s understudy proved too good with another brilliant save.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Zapata withdrew Brian Marita for Baker Lukooya, prompting his counterpart Kerr to bring on Humphrey Mieno for Kevin ‘Ade’ Omondi five minutes later.
The Malta-born Briton would introduce Medie Kagere for Ivorian Guikan, seeking to kill the game before full time.
However, it was Ingwe that pressed further, keeping Gor in their half.
Whyvonne Isuza almost punished Gor from Isaac Oduro’s fine cross, only to miss narrowly with Boniface Oluoch beaten. In the 91st minute, Kagere broke from the left channel, lost his marker before releasing a powerful shot that Owade had to parry out with a reflex dive.
The resultant corner bore no dividend, Mieno heading it out.
In a move that appeared to be preparation for penalty shootout, Kerr withdrew keeper Oluoch throwing Shaban Odhoji into the fray, in the death.