Tusker eliminates Gor Mahia from Top 8 tournament

By nesta kizito
May 22, 2021
  • Photo:SNA File

Tusker got their measure of revenge by knocking out champions Gor Mahia from the KPL Top 8 tournament on Wednesday night at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The brewers weathered a heavy storm in the second half of a match that ended scoreless to sail to the final on a slim 1-0 aggregate win.

This was a repeat of last season’s semifinal tie which Gor emphatically thrashed Tusker 4-0 on their way to clinching the title.

But this time though, it was Tusker who had the last laugh, riding their luck to book a date with Thika United in the final and lay stake on the Sh 1 million winners’ prize money.

An injury hit Gor Mahia fielded a weakened side with Dan Sserunkuma, Anthony Akumu, Joseph Njuguna, Moses Odhiambo or Fredrick Onyango all starting on the bench.

Chances were at a premium in the first half although a jaded Gor were compelled to employ a scrappy to frustrate the brewers.

Tusker coach Robert Matano later wondered why the referee allowed Gor to employ such ‘dirty tricks’.

The match exploded into life in the second half with the entry into the fray of Sserunkuma, Odhiambo and Njuguna.

Within a space of just a few minutes, Gor created and wasted at least three clear chances.

Venomous strike

First, Sserunkuma weaved his way into the box from the right and with Tusker’s defense in sixes and sevens, he chose to lay off a pass instead of going for the kill.

Moments later, Rama Salim rattled the crossbar with a venomous strike from outside the box.

With Gor on the ascendancy Tusker goalkeeper Samuel Odhiambo had to be at his very best to tip over one of those Odhiambo trademark long range shots.

With time running out an extremely agitated and animated Zdravko Logarusic committed all his men forward in search of what would have been a match saving goal.

There was late drama in the match as Ivo Mapunda strayed out of the box and was almost caught out on the counter.

But his recovery was amazing as he thrice blocked goal bound shots with stunning agility.

Deservingly, he was voted the man of the match. Gor Mahia assistant coach John “Bobby” Ogolla expressed his disappointment after the match.

“We played very well in the second half but we couldn’t score,” he said.

However, it’s not all over. With the two teams scheduled to lock horns again late Thursday at the same venue, it’s clear that Gor and Tusker still have some unfinished business.