Crowd trouble halts KPL Top 8 semi-final clash

May 18, 2011

The Kenyan Premier League “Top 8” tournament second leg semi-final between Gor Mahia and Ulinzi Stars was abandoned in the 56th minute on Wednesday night at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Ulinzi Stars were leading 1-0 from a Mike Baraza goal in the 38th minute. The Kenyan club champions were thus cruising to a possible passage to the final.

In the two-legged semi-final tie Ulinzi had held Gor Mahia 0-0 in the opening match. As the “away” team on Wednesday Ulinzi would have qualified on any scoring draw, leave alone victory, as their goals would have counted double.

Spectators at the southern terraces started throwing objects to the assistant referee on that end following two controversial decisions in quick succession.

First, Moses Odhiambo put the ball into the Ulinzi net from a fierce free kick from outside the box. At the time, Gor Mahia midfielder Ivan Anguyo had stood alone in front of the Ulinzi goalie Jacktone Odhiambo.

But even if he was not interfering with the ball, at least two other Gor Mahia players appeared to have had their shoulders beyond the defensive wall before the ball was struck by Odhiambo.

Assistant referee Stephen Maina flagging of an offside which could have been for another player other than Anguyo.

Protests had not stopped over the incident as play continued but in less than two minutes, an Ulinzi player appeared to have been struck on the arm by the ball while inside the box and Gor Mahia appealed for a penalty that was not given.

Stones, bottles and debris started falling beside the assistant referee and play stopped. Calm could not be restored even after 20 minutes of waiting within which time police threw tear gas canisters to disperse the unruly mob.

Referee Sylvester Musonye eventually signalled for the cancellation of the match.

The other “KPL Top 8” semi-final tie will be between Sofapaka and Western Stima.