Gor Go Down To Petro Atletico, Leaves CAF Confed Cup Group Wide Open

Feb 13 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Nicholas Kipkurui comes off the bench to net consolation for visitors in 1-2 loss in Luanda on Wednesday night

Gor Mahia FC head coach, Hassan Oktay, pictured ahead of the SportPesa Premier League Mashemeji Derby on Saturday, February 9, 2018 against AFC Leopards SC. PHOTO/SPN

  • Gor remain top of the pool on goal difference ahead of Petro pending the outcome of Zamalek FC of Egypt clash against Algerian side NA Hussein Dey later in the night
  • A clinical first half performance from the home team revived their own chances despite a stoppage time headed strike from substitute forward Nicholas Kipkirui pegging them back after they had raced to a 2-0 lead at the break
  • A patient-passing move saw the ball worked to the left where Mathias whipped in a low cross that was expertly placed past Boniface Onyango in the K'Ogalo goal by Toni Rosa with a diving header having shrugged off the feeble attempts of Charles Momanyi to hold him off

NAIROBI, Kenya- SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions Gor Mahia FC surrendered to a 2-1 defeat to Petro Atletico de Luanda at the November 11 Stadium in Angola on Wednesday night to throw Group D of the CAF Confederations Cup wide open.

Gor however, remain top of the pool on goal difference ahead of Petro pending the outcome of the Zamalek FC of Egypt clash against Algerian side NA Hussein Dey later in the night following their shocking 4-2 opening round victory over the Cairo giants in Nairobi on Sunday, February 3.

A clinical first half performance from Petro revived their own chances of making the quarterfinals from this difficult group despite a stoppage time headed strike from substitute forward Nicholas Kipkirui pegging them back after they had raced to a 2-0 lead at the break.

Gor head coach, Hassan Oktay was forced to do without the services of his top scorer, Rwanda international Jacques Tuyisenge who was suspended and the injured Kenya record scorer, Dennis Oliech, who failed to recover from a knock in training ahead of last Saturday’s SPL Mashemeji Derby.

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Having lost their opening Group D clash 1-2 to Algerian side NA Hussein Dey, Brazilian head coach Beto Bianchi- who fielded two of his countrymen in Toni Rosa Ribiero and Tiago Azulao- set his side to attack the Kenyan visitors from the off.

His call paid dividends in the 13th minute of the contest when Elio Wilson set Manquzi Quiberto to open the scoring for the Angolan giants to calm the nerves of the home side who came to this contest reeling from a bitter 0-1 derby defeat to cross town rivals Primero de Agosto.

Petro continued dominating the match against a subdued Gor and it was to the surprise of no one when they extended their lead in the 36th with a goal that had all the hallmarks of Brazilian flair.

A patient-passing move saw the ball worked to the left where Mathias whipped in a low cross that was expertly placed past Boniface Onyango in the K'Ogalo goal by Toni Rosa with a diving header having shrugged off the feeble attempts of Charles Momanyi to hold him off.

The goal worked up the partisan crowd that booed every touch from Gor but to their credit, the SPL champions started finding their men in midfield and ended the half with a bright patch.

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Curve ball

Oktay threw a curve ball to the proceedings when he hauled off midfielder Boniface Omondi for Kenya international winger, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo, a minute to the break shortly after Lawrence Juma tried to catch Petro cold from range with a strike that went just over.

The new man came on as countryman Francis Kahata, the star of the show when K’Ogalo outclassed fiercest domestic arch rivals AFC Leopards SC 2-0 in the derby last weekend, bent in a wicked free kick that was cleared for a corner.

Angolan international keeper Gerson ’Elber’ da Costa firmly held on to the ball as the visitors threatened to force a way back moments before Petro took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room.

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In the closing stanza, the home side weathered a bright start from Gor to fashion the first opportunity when Job Estavo twisted and turned Joash Onyango inside out before delivering a cross that was headed towards goal by the other Brazilian, Thiago but Onyango gathered in the second attempt in the 49th.

A mix up between Elber and his defender gave Francis Mustapha a brief sniff on goal six minutes later but the Burundi forward could not get a clean connection and the ball flew way over much to the relief of the Petro supporters.

That proved to be his last contribution when Oktay rested him for another striker Kipkurui -who terrorised the Zamalek defense to submission- scoring and setting up another before he left the field of play in the 66th on that occasion for Oliech.

Danilson then put off Ugandan marksman, Erisa Sekisambu moments later with Gor finding their rhythm when the SPL titleholders opted to go for broke but it was centre half Wilson who almost punished the Kenyan titans just after the hour mark when he headed just wide of Onyango's right post after the visitors failed to deal with a set piece delivery yet again.

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Sekisambu then headed just wide from a deflected cross in a let off for Petro when the ball was worked to the other end from the right two minutes later. That was the cue for Bianchi to bring exciting midfielder Carlinhos for goal scorer Toni who left the field of play on a stretcher with just over 25' to go.  

Best chance

The offside flag then spared Kipkurui's blushes when he headed in a floated cross into the arms of Elber when he was found unmarked in the 67th before Kahata send a wild shot out of play three minutes later with the Kenyans now pressing forward at every available opportunity.

The danger for the charging visitors was leaving the backdoor exposed to the counter and Quiberto came within a whisker of claiming his double when he was found in the box with no one close but for his shooting range deserted him as the ball fizzled wide to the relief of Onyango.

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Gor then had their best chance to pull one back in the 72nd when Momanyi forced Elber to tip the ball over from a corner when he rose the highest to head goal wards in what had evolved into open affair and as the clock ticked to the last 10, Oktay threw in the last throw of his dice, Sekisambu ambling off for Samuel Onyango.

Petro responded by throwing another 26 year-old Karanga for crowd favourite Danilson as they sought to stem the visitors' ascendancy in midfield but Gor's efforts were rewarded in the first minute of stoppage time when Kipkirui found consolation and the goal that kept them above the hosts.

The former SPL side Zoo Kericho FC striker who is fast becoming a massive hit for K'Ogalo headed in on the turn when a deep ball over the top was allowed all the way into the box with Petro defenders standing off the substitute forward thinking he was offside.

It was no more than Gor deserved for a vastly improved second half but the record 17-time Kenyan domestic league winners had left themselves with too much to do having surrendered the initiative in an insipid opening half of action.

They will return home to face 2009 league winners Sofapaka in another high profile SPL clash on Saturday before hosting Hussein Dey in the Confed Cup in Nairobi.

Another win will put them in a vantage position to make the quarter finals of the second tier continental club tournament having come to within a point of making the last eight in the 2017/18 edition.

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STARTING XI

Petro Atletico 

Gerson da Costa (GK), Diogenes Joao, Elio Wilson, Eddie Afonso, Danilson, Herenilson, Manguxi Quiberto, Nary Olim Diniz, Toni Rosa Ribeiro, Job Estevao, Tiago Azulao

Gor Mahia FC 

Boniface Otieno Onyango, Shafik Batambuze, Haron Shakava, Joash Onyango, Charles Momanyi, Kenneth Muguna, Lawrence Juma, Boniface Omondi, Francis Kahata, Erisa Ssekisambu, Francis Mustafa