Five-Star Berkane Put Gor Mahia Out Of Their Confed Cup Misery

Apr 14 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

SPL champions crash out of the second tier continental club competition 1-7 on aggregate in a shambolic performance

Gor Mahia FC head coach Hassan Oktay. PHOTO/File

  • The Moroccan cup holders advanced to take on tournament four-time winners CS Sfaxien from neighbouring Tunisia in the last four
  • Fears that Gor would field with the eight reserves if the rest of the team did not make it on time were allayed when head coach Hassan Oktay, who was suspended for the first leg, led his side out to the artificial turf of the Municipal Stadium
  • The humiliation was complete with four minutes of time left when striker Youssef Essaiydy finished with consummate ease with the exhausted Gor defence once again melting out of sight

NAIROBI, Kenya- Gor Mahia FC were finally put out of their 2018/19 CAF Confederations Cup misery by Moroccan side RS Berkane who raced to a 5-1 win on Sunday to complete a crushing 7-1 victory on aggregate in their quarterfinal.

After a promising start, SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions capitulated at the Municipal Stadium in Berkane to exit the second tier continental club competition amid chaos over both legs of this last eight clash.

The Moroccan cup holders advanced to take on tournament four-time winners CS Sfaxien from neighbouring Tunisia in the last four.

Sfaxien had earlier in the evening overturned a 1-2 deficit from the first leg to beat Kitwe-based Zambian side Nkana FC 2-0 to advance to the semi finals in their bid to win a record fifth Confed Cup crown and a first since 2013.

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Trailing 0-2 from the first leg played in Nairobi a week earlier, midfielder Lawrence Juma's well-taken shot that levelled the return fixture 1-1 inside the opening 24 minutes was the closest the record 17-time Kenyan league winners came closest to mounting what would have amounted to one of the most unlikeliest of comebacks.

The SPL holders and leaders' journey to Morocco degenerated into shambles, with photos of some of the players including Kenya international midfielder, Francis Kahata and Philemon Otieno sleeping on the airport floor in Qatar going viral throughout Saturday night and Sunday.

To compound the shocking travel plans, eight reserve players and club officials led by chairman Ambrose Rachier, arrived in Berkane ahead of the main squad that was forced to endure a punishing seven to eight hour bus journey from the resort city of Casablanca where they landed from Doha on match day.

Business class

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As the local online community went nuclear, with many calling time on the officials who reportedly travelled to Morocco in business class, Nairobi Governor, Mike Sonko gifted the players KSh1m to alleviate their suffering with KSh500,000 wired to captain Harun Shakava with the rest pledged for Monday.

Fears that Gor would field with the eight reserves if the rest of the team did not make it on time were allayed when head coach Hassan Oktay, who was suspended for the first leg, led his side out to the artificial turf of the Municipal Stadium.

The Cypriot born Turkish boss did not have time to drill his side at the match venue as required but nonetheless, played Nicholas Kipkurui and Uganda national, Erissa Ssekisambu upfront as he welcomed back his captain in defence having also been suspended from the first leg.

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From the opening whistle, it was clear Gor would have a long night when Berkane forced keeper Fredrick Odhiambo into a flying save from a header in the second minute of the match before Shakava stepped in to intercept a dangerous delivery into box that was hacked away by Philemon Otieno.

On the other end, Kipkurui sprung his strike partner, Ssekisambu with a nice through ball but the Ugandan could not steady himself in time to fire with the Berkane defence scrambling to clear the danger.

Mounting most of their attacks from the flanks, the opener came in the 21st minute when Togolese forward Fod Doh Laba killed a deep cross from the right and in the next action slipped the ball through the legs of Odhiambo.

Three minutes later though, Juma stunned the home supporters when he equalised with a smart finish when the Berkane defence failed to deal with another long cross from the right with Kahata cushioning the ball for his teammate to thump it home.

Floated ball

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Laba almost turned the provider moments later when his floated ball from the left was met by Hamchi Laachir but his header was fractionally wide of the target of Odhiambo's goal.

The reprieve was short lived when the home side went 2-1 up in the 32nd when their skipper, Mohammed Aziz rose to head in unmarked when Kenneth Muguna failed to deal with a pin point corner from the right.

Five minutes later, Shakava who was booked in the 15th cost his side when a costly slip whilst in possession around the box was ruthlessly punished by midfielder Bakr El Helali who advanced into the box and beat Odhiambo with a deft finish into the bottom left corner of the K'Ogalo net.

Oktay put Shakava out of his personal nightmare in the 40th with Joachim Oluoch coming on as the home side went into the break 3-1 to the good on the night for an imposing 5-1 aggregate.

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Upon resumption, Berkane went for the jugular courtesy of some shocking defending from the SPL champions with Burkinabe defender Issoufou Dayo adding a fourth in the 58th when he planted his header past the exposed Odhiambo.

He then proceeded to pull out a red mask and earn a booking for his efforts for over elaborate celebrations.

The humiliation was complete with four minutes of time left when striker Youssef Essaiydy finished with consummate ease with the exhausted Gor defence once again melting out of sight.