Riots erupt as Muhoroni shock Gor for Top 8 glory
Muhoroni Youth completed a stunning smash and grab 1-0 victory over titleholders Gor Mahia in the KPL Top 8 final marred by crowd trouble which saw the game halted for almost a quarter of an hour at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
Chaos descended when irate K’Ogalo fans set their ire on assistant referee Gilbert Cheruiyot accusing him of not being fair to the two-time winners of the knock-out tournament.
Missiles descended on the pitch as tear gas was lobbied to contain the in another shameful outbreak of hooliganism in domestic football that saw both sets of players dash for their changing rooms immediately after the final whistle with no presentation of the trophy and the Ksh1m prize to the winners possible.
South African pay television channel, SuperSport, that was broadcasting the game live across Africa went off air moments later as trouble continued in the stands with defeat too painful to stomach for Gor supporter who saw the Top 8 as the only realistic stab at taking home a trophy this season with their hopes of defending their league crown fast receding.
Amid the rubble of anarchy, Muhoroni celebrated their first ever silverware when Kennedy Rono capitalised on a terrible mistake by the Gor defenders to pinch the ball and coolly round off captain Jerim Onyango for the winner.
His opposite number, Farouk Shikalo put on a match-of-the-match performance to thwart the profligate K’Ogalo who spurned chance after chance to win the game by the margin of daylight before the sucker-punch against the run of play floored them.
Gor who first lifted the Top 8 crown have only themselves to blame as their profligacy in the league that has seen Tusker FC loosen their grip on the KPL title they have held for the last three years returned to haunt them.
Once again, their Ksh4m striker, Jacques Tuyisenge and his forward partner and former Rwanda captain, Meddie Kagere, took turns to waste presentable opportunities with their teammates such as defender Musa Mohammed and winger George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo got into the act.
Tuyisenge, the standing captain of Amavubi Stars of Rwanda, thought he had broken his 11-match goal drought in the 27th minute but his goal was denied for fouling custodian Shikhalo before he struck home.
The misery for wasteful K’Ogalo was compounded in the 40th when Earnest Wendo was stretched off paving way for Ugandan Godfrey Walusimbi to play in the unfamiliar attacking midfield role.
A minute after the re-start, Tuyisenge smacked the post with a header before spurning another opportunity to give his side the lead and soon, Gor paid dearly.
A costly mix-up in defence between Mohammed and Harun Shakava saw Rono pounce just after the hour mark to round off the keeper and give Muhoroni the lead in a rare foray upfront for the team that put up a backs-to-the-wall rearguard.
Immediately after the goal, interim Muhoroni coach Tom Juma withdrew Sammy Ndung’u for striker Lwamba Bebeto showing he was not content with the narrow lead.
Under-pressure Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Fereirra in the Gor dugout reacted by introducing former Western Stima goal poacher Baron Oketch for Amos Nondi, before bringing on striker Jacob Keli in the place of defender Nzigiyamana.
With eight minutes to the 90, fans became unruly forcing play to be stopped as security agents, stewards and K’Ogalo players led by the veteran Mohammed tried to contain the situation.
When the action eventually resumed, Tuyisenge spurned another opportunity and then right at the death, Keli received the ball unmarked in the right of the box to send his shot fizzling wide across goal.
Soon after, the players ran off the pitch as the final whistle went, with Muhoroni denied their crowning moment when the trophy presentation ceremony was called off.