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K’Ogalo clinch group’s top spot in Cecafa tourney


Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia picked a routine win on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Djibouti’s Telecom at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam to finish on top of Group A at the ongoing Cecafa Club Championship.

Strikers Michael Olunga and George “Blackberry” Odhiambo scored spectacular goals in the first half before Enock Agwanda found the net late in the second half to complete the score. Said Hassan Elmi came through with Telecom’s consolation goal.

After the match, coach Frank Nuttall said he was satisfied with the performance of the men so far, and that no further accomplishments will be demanded from them going forward.

“Playing four games in seven days is not easy and that is why we chose to rest some players. Our ambition was to get past the group stages and I am glad that we have achieved that. I know that we shall have tough opponents in the quarterfinals but at this point any further achievement will only be a bonus for us,” Nuttall said.

With the result Gor Mahia finished their group assignments unbeaten with 10 points from four matches. K’Ogalo begin their campaign with a 2-1 win over hosts Yanga on match day.

They followed up that result with a 3-1 win over KMKM of Zanzibar and a 1-1 draw with Al Khartoum of Sudan.

Yanga, who beat Al Khartoum 1-0 in yesterday’s other match finished second in the group behind Gor Mahia with 9 points, while the Sudanese side came in third on 7 points. All three teams however progressed to the quarter finals.

With a place in the quarters already secured, Nuttall fielded a changed squad handing goalkeeper Jerim Onyango and Ernest Wendo rare starting roles.

Ronald Omino and Enock Agwanda also started with regulars Meddie Kagere, Godfrey Walusimbi and Karim Nizigiyimana all starting on the bench.

OPENING GOAL

However Telecom, who had not won a single match in the tournament, starting strongly with striker Mohammed Youssouf twice testing Onyango in the first half.

Gor Mahia took the lead when Odhiambo broke into a weaving run on the left flank before unleashing a thunderous strike. Olunga doubled K’Ogalo’s advanatage in the 27th minute smashing home Ronald Omino’s incoming cross.

Nuttall pulled off Olunga and Colins Okoth immediately after the half time break and introduced Karim Nizigiyimana, Kagere.

Telecom almost pulled one goal back in the 72nd minute when Dharar Jama drew out Onyango, but failed to beat the keeper before Wendo cleared the ball.

K’Ogalo however responded in seven minutes later through Agwanda who controlled a cross from the midfield before smashing the ball into the net for his first goal in a Gor Mahia jersey.

K’Ogalo will now meet Malakia from South Sudan in the quarters, Group B table toppers APR from Rwanda will tackle Al Khartoum while Yanga will renew hostilities with local rivals Azam who finished on top of Group C.

Monday will be a rest day before the quarterfinals kick off on Tuesday afternoon.