K’Ogalo bottle Tusker in Kisumu
Kenyan Premier League defending champions Gor Mahia opened up a 12-point lead on top of the table after beating Tusker 1-0 at a packed Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Saturday.
Meddie Kagere sent K’Ogalo’s travelling fans into ecstasy with a glancing header in the 77th minute for what would be the goal that floored a battling Tusker and in the process ensuring that the runaway league leaders finish the first leg unbeaten.
Former AFC Leopards custodian Martin Musalia, who made his debut for Tusker during the match, had pulled a number of brilliant saves for the brewers, found himself exposed as Kagere sneaked behind his markers to head home Karim Nizigiyimana’s left footed cross.
The visitors were beneficiaries of an early free kick with two minutes of play after skipper Jesse Were was brought down on the edge of the box by Harun Shakava. Kevin Kimani however failed to trouble Boniface Oluoch with his shot.
Two minutes later, striker Michael Olunga came close for Gor but Musalia did well to punch the ball out of danger.
In the 34th minute Kagere, who had been largely anonymous up to that point, squandered a golden chance after he failed to head Godfrey Walusimbi’s cross from the left inside the box as the first half ended scoreless.
In the second half, Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall pulled off Godfrey Walusimbi and brought in Innocent Wafula, and the changes yielded result.
Gor Mahia have now wrapped up the first leg on 39 points from 15 matches while Tusker are seventh on the log with 22 points from an equal number of matches.
Earlier on at the same venue, Allan Kateregga came off the bench to gift Ushuru FC three points at the expense of Western Stima.
Kateregga rose high to head home Moses Odhiambo cross from the left in the 81st minute to send his team seven places up to fifth place on the table with 23 points.
At the Muhoroni Stadium, Muhoroni Youth were held to a barren draw by Chemelil Sugar, while Sony Sugar’s winless streak stretched to six matches after by lost 1-0 to Nairobi City Stars in Awendo.
Mathare United narrowly escaped defeat and instead settled for a barren draw with Nakuru All Stars in a tough match played at Afraha Stadium.
All Stars coach Peter Okidi accused referee Judy Muhonja of denying his team a clear penalty after Boniface Akenga was hacked inside the box during their match against Mathare United.
“We’re victims of bad officiating and today we have been denied three points. We however must soldier on because we intend to avoid relegation,” said Okidi.
Western Stima 0 Ushuru 1
Gor Mahia 1 Tusker 0
Muhoroni Youth 0 Chemelil Sugar 0
Nakuru All Stars 0, Mathare United 0
Sony Sugar 0 City Stars 1