Defiant Mathare United beat Gor, Kimanzi affirms they are not going down

By alex wafula
Oct 15, 2017
  • Francis Kimanzi assures Mathare United will not be relegated after beating Gor Mahia home and away. (SNA. File Photo)

Francis Kimanzi, the Mathare United coach showed that his side is not ready to drop down to the National Super League after a 1-0 victory over leaders Gor Mahia.

The result sees Mathare move to 30 points, two behind safety.

For K’Ogalo, it was a result that slowed down their march towards a 16th Kenyan Premier League crown.

With Sofapaka winning 2-1 against Bandari in Mombasa, the gap between first and second has been reduced to 12 points, but the leaders Gor Mahia have one match at hand.

Kimanzi was elated with the victory and he attributed it to a good-pre-match strategy. It was the first time in their history that Mathare have beaten Gor Mahia home and away.

“We knew if we had to win we had to play better wide and exploit their fullbacks who were always upfield. It worked well for us and I am pleased with the players. We are not going down and there is no panic. In the remaining six games we have to aim to win all of them,” Kimanzi said after the tie.

His opposite number Dylan Kerr was frustrated with everything around the match. He said his players didn’t show enough hunger, the pitch was in pathetic state and the referees’ performance was below par.

“I looked at them at warm up and I was a bit worried, then I thought maybe we will come alive in the match but then we didn’t. In the second half we tried but simply it was not our best day. Kudos to Mathare because they wanted it more than we did and they were fantastic. But this pitch, it’s horrible! A Premier League match shouldn’t be played here,” the tactician said.

Gor struggled

Simply, it wasn’t the best day for Gor Mahia. They struggled to pass the ball around and the midfield partnership between Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza and Kenneth Muguna simply didn’t work out.

Usual defensive midfielder Ernest Wendo was missing with injury and his missing influence in the K’Ogalo play was hugely visible.

Gor found themselves trailing for the first time in 12 games in the fifth minute of the game. Wellington Ochieng failed to clear away a cross from Chris Ochieng and Cliff Nyakeya tapped on for Chris Oduor to rifle the ball home with a low shot.

The league leaders hadn’t had the best start to the match and their woes were compounded when dependable right back Karim Nizigiyimana limped off in the second minute after twisting his ankle.

Mathare took control of the game and the influence of Roy Okal and Edward Seda in the middle of the pack was imperious. The two won the ball and distributed well while Gor struggled to keep their act together.

Their first opportunity was on the half hour mark. Francis Kahata curled a freekick beyond the wall with Mathare keeper Levis Opiyo making a fine save and bounced up immediately to block Wellington Ochieng’s effort on the rebound.

Opiyo was called to action once again in the 35th minute making a point blank save to keep off Kahata’s shot from the left.

In the second half, Mathare kept their front running tact and four minutes in, they should have been two up. Chris Ochieng did well to turn away from Harun Shakava before racing into the box, but his shot was saved by Boniface Oluoch.

Great opportunity

Eight minutes later, they had a great opportunity with a freekick from the edge of the box when Harun Shakava’s outstretched to Chris Ochieng’s face, but Nyakeya sent the effort straight to the wall.

Sensing that time was running out Gor Mahia upped the tempo. Jacques Tuyisenge twice had a go at goal.

He shielded himself well from Okal in the 59th minute but his shot went straight to Opiyo. In the 64th minute, the Rwandese forward sent in a dipping header from a Muguna freekick but the effort went over.

Two minutes on the turn, Mathare should have put the game to bed but they wasted yet another glorious opportunity.

Musa Mohammed’s clearance came off Mugiranza’s back and Chris Ochieng picked the ball into the box, sliding past keeper Oluoch, but he took too much time with the ball allowing Mohammed back to block his eventual effort.

Gor surged on in the final 15 minutes. Kahata tried his luck with another freekick which was well collected by Opiyo while Mugiraneza sent a late header direct to the Mathare keeper.

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

Saturday: AFC Leopards 0 Posta Rangers 2 (Narok Stadium), Bandari 1 Sofapaka 2 (Mbaraki Complex, Mombasa), Kariobangi Sharks 2 Chemelil Sugar 2 (Kasarani Stadium), Mathare United 1 Gor Mahia 0 (Thika Stadium), Zoo Kericho 0 Ulinzi Stars 0 (Kericho Green Stadium).

Sunday: Kakamega Homeboyz v Nakumatt (Mumias Complex), SoNy Sugar v Nzoia Sugar (Awendo), Tusker FC v Muhoroni Youth (Ruaraka), Western Stima v Thika United (Moi Stadium, Kisumu).