Uhuru, Raila among spectators at Kasarani as Gor skin Leopards
Matthews Mutai at Kasarani
Boniface Onyango fumbled home the winner as the latest Mashemeji Derby opened yet another chapter of defeat for AFC Leopards who fell 1-0 to Gor Mahia FC at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.
It marked the ninth such loss for Leopards whose best result against their eternal rivals has been one draw from the previous 10 meetings across all competitions with the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor.
That victory pushed Gor seven points clear at the summit of the KPL standings on 54 although their closest challengers Kakamega Homeboyz (47) and Tusker FC (46) can eat into that lead if they win their games in hand.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed were among the state dignitaries in attendance.
Defender Collins Shivachi put in a solid shift at the back for Leopards and had a goal-line clearance to cap a fine display, denying substitute Juma Balinya in the dying minutes after the Ugandan had beaten goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan with some neat footwork.
That came after a heroic save on the other end from goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch whose big save kept out Vincent Oburu from a one-on-one situation.
Leopards’ on-form forward Elvis Rupia fired the opening effort of the match and Oluoch did well to push round for a fruitless corner.
Omondi had a foul given in his favour minutes later but Kenneth Muguna’s free-kick was headed away. He had another set-piece attempt after Clifton Miheso was brought down at the edge of the area and it was again cleared.
Washington Munene fired a low cross into the penalty area which was spilled by Oluoch but defender Joash Onyango reacted fastest to hook it away with Oburu lurking.
It had been a fairly even start to the proceedings but Gor found the breakthrough after Omondi poked home a rebound from Ochan who had done well to save Kenneth Muguna’s headed attempt.
Gor had two quick attempts from Omondi and Muguna well defended as the champions sought to double their advantage. Nicholas Kipkirui slammed a shot straight into a Leopards player which went for a fruitless corner.
Gor preserved their lead into the break and picked up from where they left with Miheso firing a fierce effort which forced another smart stop from Ochan.
Rupia had been quiet most of the match and had a golden chance to make a mark but could only roll his first time effort just off target after some clever work from Austine Odhiambo to set him up.
Balinya was brought on for Kipkirui and he immediately took on Shivachi in a foot race down the left flank after he had been teed up by Muguna yet it was the Leopards defender who came out top, marshalling the Ugandan out of play.
Said Tsuma pinged a long ball into the Oburu and the youngster elected to take it on the volley but failed to execute it, lashing it high and into the stands.
Substitute Francis Manoah brought some much needed invention to the Leopards attack, wriggling away from Geoffrey Ochieng and delivering a cross although it was too close to Oluoch who gathered easily.
He tested Oluoch again this time with a fizzing shot which rolled inches off the Gor post although the goalkeeper dove to ensure he had it covered.
A quick interchange of play from Lawrence Juma and Balinya left the Ugandan in a good position and he did well to beat Ochan and released a shot but Shivanchi was there to block it.