Depleted SPL Champions Gor Recover To Mug Homeboyz In Machakos

Mar 14 - by SPN Correspondent for SportPesa News

Titleholders fell to a Namanda deft finish in the 57th minute before super sub Mustapha, Otieno complete come from behind victory at Kenyatta Stadium that moves K'Ogalo to second

Gor Mahia FC striker Francis Mustapha celebrates after scoring against Kakamega Homeboyz FC at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Thursday, March 14, 2019. PHOTO/KellyAyodi

  • Second half substitute and Burundi striker, Francis Mustapha and midfielder Boniface Omondi shared the hero duties for K’Ogalo who moved up to second on the log on 32 points, one shy of leaders Sofapaka FC
  • In the opposite dugout, Homeboyz boss Nicholas Muyoti who is still finding his feet at the club that came to the contest in ninth, had his entire arsenal at his disposal led by the in form veteran striker and SPL top marksman this term, Allan Wanga who was seeking to add to his tally of eight
  • It proved to be a masterstroke when the new man hauled the teams level in the 67th with an acrobatic finish inside the box that sent their supporters wild when Homeboyz failed to deal with a long throw in

MACHAKOS, Kenya- Depleted SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions Gor Mahia FC recovered from conceding in the second half to beat Kakamega Homeboyz FC 2-1 at the Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on Thursday afternoon.

Second half substitute and Burundi striker, Francis Mustapha and midfielder Boniface Omondi shared the hero duties for K’Ogalo who moved up to second on the log on 32 points, one shy of leaders Sofapaka FC.

Homeboyz (21)- who remained ninth- were well on course to stun the giants when they took the lead 12 minutes into the second half through a deft finish from Luke Namanda but a two-goal salvo killed their resolve to set the titleholders up perfectly for their must-win CAF Confederations Cup final Group D clash against Petro Atletico de Luanda on Sunday.

Amid reports of unrest in the K’Ogalo ranks over pay, head coach Hassan Oktay travelled with only 15 players to Machakos for the contest on their return to domestic competition after a two week absence to honour their Confederations Cup away fixtures against NA Hussein Dey and Al Ahly.

Among those missing from the squad altogether were Kenya record goal scorer, Dennis Oliech, dependable midfielder, Francis Kahata as well as top scorer and assistant captain, Rwanda international Jacques Tuyisenge with only four players on the bench.

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In their places, Ugandan Erissa Ssekisambu and Ernest Wendo got rare starts upfront with Nicholas Kipkurui who has been a revelation since joining the giants from SPL rivals Zoo Kericho FC spearheading the attack.

In the opposite dugout, Homeboyz boss Nicholas Muyoti who is still finding his feet at the club that came to the contest in ninth, had his entire arsenal at his disposal led by the in form veteran striker and SPL top marksman this term, Allan Wanga who was seeking to add to his tally of eight.

Moses Mudavadi and David Okoth were set up to share the scoring burden with Ali Bhai Ahmed deployed as the main creative outlet with the former Thika United FC and AFC Leopards SC boss opting to keep midfielder Peter Thiong’o and Maxwell Ravel on the bench in an unexpected turn of events.

Big Match

From the off, the titleholders, perhaps with an eye to their big match on Sunday set for the MISC Kasarani in Nairobi, got off to a sluggish start.

Despite hogging most of the possession, a wayward Ssekisambu in the 28th minute that sailed way over was the most notable chance for the team chasing a record-extending 18th crown.

Homeboyz indeed created the better scoring chances of the opening stanza with Mudavadi threatening first in the 26th before Bhai took and wasted their next presentable opportunity in the 34th.

Two minutes later, Omondi sent his shot straight at David Juma in the Homeboyz goal much to the chagrin of his animated head coach Oktay.

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The teams went in for the break locked at 0-0 with the biggest take out from the opening stanza being how Wanga had remained so quiet.

However, the game sparked to life within the opening quarter of the final period when Homeboyz shot to the lead with a fine finish from Namanda who chipped Nicholas Odhiambo in the Gor goal after being sprung clear by a Bhai through ball in the 57th.

The goal woke up the champions who fished their undoubted quality from somewhere, with defender Geoffrey Ochieng’ taking matters into his hands with a shot from range that was parried out by a scrambling Juma.

From the resultant corner, panic reigned in the Homeboyz box but there were no takers.

Fiercely competed

Back came the green wave buoyed by the cheering from their handful of supporters as Oktay brought on Burundi attacker Mustapha for Kipkurui shortly after the hour.

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It proved to be a masterstroke when the new man hauled the teams level in the 67th with an acrobatic finish inside the box that sent their supporters wild when Homeboyz failed to deal with a long throw in.

In the very next attack, it was 2-1 to the champions. 

Boniface Omondi controlled the ball superbly and his deflected shot landed in the back of the net, leaving Juma red faced and the turn around was complete. 

The champions then safely navigated through the remaining part of the contest to inch closer to the top where they have three games in hand over 2009 winners Sofapaka who have played 18 matches thus far.

Attention turns to Atletico where Gor, who prop the fiercely competed Group D of the Confed Cup on six points, will book their places in the quarterfinal for the first time ever with a win over the Luanda giants, regardless of what happens in Algiers where leaders Zamalek (eight) visit Hussein Dey (seven) in the other Sunday showdown.

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-Report by Louis Kalinga in Machakos and Mutwiri Mutuota

Squads

Gor Mahia FC

Starting XI: 1. Fredrick Odhiambo (GK), 4. Wellington Ochieng’, 2. Geoffrey Ochieng’, 15. Joachim Oluoch, 18. Haron Shakava (C), 20. Ernest Wendo, 11. Boniface Omondi, 24. Lawrence Juma, 7. Nicholas Kipkurui, 22. Erisa Ssekisambu, 25. George Odhiambo

Subs: 16. Shaban Odhoji (GK), 17. Bernard Ondiek, 32. Eric Ombija, 23. Francis Mustapha

Kakamega Homeboyz FC

Starting XI: 32. David Juma (GK), 6. Benjamin Okech, 2. Festus Okiring, 35. Idah Sosthenes, 35. George Odwour, 4. Festo Omukoto, 12. Luke Namanda, 10. Moses Mudavadi, 24. Ali Bhai Ahmed, 9. David Okoth, 14. Allan Wanga (C)

Subs: 1. Nicholas Adikinyi (GK), 16. Collins Odhiambo, 21. Kennedy Onyango, 7. Peter Thiong’o, 45. Edwin Lavatsa, 13. Maxwell Ravel, 29. Boniface Mbenzi