Gor go 12 points clear, Mathare sink lower

By alex wafula
Sep 24, 2017
  • Thika United's Said Tsuma dribbles past Posta Rangers' Georson Likonoh. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Ulinzi Stars' John Kago against Mathare United's Roy Okal. Mathare United needed a win to enhance their chances of surviving relegation. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Mathare United coach Francis Kimanzi remains confident his side will avoid relegation. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Gor Mahia moved 12 points clear on top of the Kenyan Premier League standings with a 2-0 win over defending champions Tusker FC on Saturday at the Kericho Stadium.

Meddie Kagere and George 'Blackberry' Odhiambo scored one goal each as Dylan Kerr kept his 100 percent record since joining the side.

The win saw Gor Mahia move to 54 points while Sofapaka remain at 42 points after losing 2-1 to Kakamega Homeboyz in Mumias.

Kagere opened the scoring for K’Ogalo after coming to the end of a neat pass from Odhiambo, catching Tusker keeper David Okello off his mark.

Tusker FC responded with Hashim Ssempala and Humphrey Mieno who shot wide from range.

A minute to the break, Tusker boss George Nsimbe made changes to his offensive options bringing in Stephen Owusu for the subdued Paul Odhiambo.

The change was meant to increase Tusker’s threat from the air with the Ghanaian being dangerous with cross balls.

But, Tusker’s hopes of a comeback were dashed by Gor who scored the second goal the 56th minute when Odhiambo turnned from provider to scorer.

Despite a late surge in the final half hour, Gor Mahia held to the lead, especially with the heavens opening up.

Mathare survival chances slim

Meanwhile, Mathare United’s survival chances were dealt a major blow after losing 0-1 to Ulinzi Stars at Ruaraka.

This was even as fellow relegation strugglers Thika United drew 1-1 with Posta Rangers.

In this match, Mathare United threw everything at Ulinzi, but could not get a goal to get them back into contention.

“It is quite tough where we are and I think we have to go into extra gear now. I am still confident that we can survive and these players know that we are not in a good position and we need to fight,” Francis Kimanzi, the Mathare United coach stated.

His sentiments were echoed by skipper George Owino who however says if they win four of their next eight matches, they will survive.

Ulinzi kept their surge for an outside chance for this season’s KPL title with coach Benjamin Nyangweso saying he will not give up on the chase until the final day.

Oscar Wamalwa in his first start in the second leg headed home the lone goal in the 11th minute after rushing on to a Samuel Onyango cross.

Mathare grew into the game gradually after a small period of dominance from Ulinzi and they should have drawn level in the 28th minute.

However, Chris Ochieng could not guide the ball home at the back post from a Cliff Nyakeya past, instead blasting the effort over.

Mathare injected pace

In the second half, Mathare injected pace and two minutes in, Brian Birgen was forced to clear the ball off the line after George Owino’s header off a corner from the right skipped past Saruni.

Kimanzi brought in Elijah Mwanzia for Chris Ochieng while Victor Ashinga came off for Tyson Otieno.

Mathare United went into full attack and camped in the Ulinzi half with the soldiers relying on counter attacks.  They kept on knocking, winning set pieces and floating in the balls to no avail.

With 10 minutes remaining, Ulinzi boss Nyangweso went defensive and brought off Kasuti for defensive midfielder Bernard Ongoma.

Despite Mathare piling pressure, the soldiers held on to the slim advantage.

Earlier, Thika United could have grabbed three vital survival points but were denied by Posta Rangers keeper Martin Musalia at death.

Musalia made a superb stop with his feet to deny Peter Okoth who had slammed the ball in first time from a Eugene Mukangula with the scores at 1-1.

The two sides had scored a goal apiece within a space of two minutes.

Posta Rangers broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when Likonoh had the final brush from a Luke Ochieng long throw, the after Jerry Santo had the initial brush at the near post.

However, a lapse in concentration a minute later saw Suleiman Ngotho level for Thika United. The defender slammed home from close range after the Posta Rangers defense failed to deal with a corner from the right.

KPL weekend results and fixtures (All games kick off 3 p.m. unless stated)

Saturday: Posta Rangers 1 Thika United 1, Mathare United 0 Ulinzi Stars 1 (Ruaraka Complex), Kakamega 2 v Sofapaka 1 (Mumias), Tusker FC 0 Gor Mahia 2 (Kericho Stadium).

Sunday: Bandari v Chemelil Sugar (Mbaraki), Western Stima v Nakumatt (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Zoo Kericho v Nzoia Sugar (Kericho).

GOtv Shield: Kariobangi Sharks v SoNy Sugar (12 p.m.), AFC Leopards v Vihiga United (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru 2 p.m.).