Gor Humble Mighty Zamalek In Six-Goal Confed Cup Thriller

Feb 03 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Tuyisenge double and further goals from Kipkurui and Oliech stun Group D favourites 4-2 at MISC Kasarani

Gor Mahia FC forward, Dennis Oliech in action during the 2019 SportPesa Cup in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. PHOTO/SPN

  • Jacques Tuyisenge claimed a brace and set up the third for the irrepressible Nicholas Kipkurui who crowned his international debut for Gor with a memorable performance.
  • The SPL winners thus took early charge of Group D of the 2018/19 Confed Cup that also has Angolan outfit Petro Atletico and Algerian side NA Hussein Dey as the most-decorated club in Kenyan football history claimed only a second victory in 12 games against Egyptian opposition
  • With Zamalek committing men forward in search of an equaliser, the final flourish fell deservedly to Oliech, who raced on to a long ball, composed himself by weaving through a trailing defender before pulling the trigger to send the home fans into orbit

NAIROBI, Kenya- This is what Gor Mahia Football Club lives and stands for. SportPesa Premier League (SPL) titleholders, Gor claimed a most-famous victory when they stunned five-time African champions and Egyptian giants Zamalek FC 4-2 at a wild Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani to get their 2018/19 CAF Confederations Cup group stage campaign off to a dream start on Sunday. 

Jacques Tuyisenge claimed a brace and set up the third for the irrepressible Nicholas Kipkurui who crowned his international debut for Gor with a memorable performance.

That set the stage for the Kenyan legend that is Dennis Oliech to come off the bench and put the icing on the cake in the last minute of normal time and send the home fans into a frenzy. 

The Cairo titans hit back with a double from Ibrahim Hassan following a couple of mistakes from goal-keeper Boniface Oluoch in an open and wildly entertaining game that will linger on for years to come but in the end, a seismic shock in African football was completed in the most emphatic of fashions.

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Victory was sweet revenge for Gor following their infamous meeting in the 1984 CAF Africa Champions Cup (now Champions League) that saw the record 17-time Kenyan champions banned for three years from continental competition following an ill-tempered contest in Cairo.

The SPL winners thus took early charge of Group D of the 2018/19 Confed Cup that also has Angolan outfit Petro Atletico and Algerian side NA Hussein Dey as the most-decorated club in Kenyan football history claimed only a second victory in 12 games against Egyptian opposition.

Oliech's elder brother, the late Steve Okumu, incidentally scored the winner in a 1-0 victory for Gor over this illustrious opponents in 1998 in Nairobi, the only other occasion the local heavyweights have enjoyed success over an Egyptian team.

Gor head coach, Hassan Oktay, sprung a surprise in his selection when he benched Kenya record goal-scorer, Oliech and captain Harun Shakava who was returning to CAF action alongside Charles Momanyi after serving suspension.

Club record signing Tuyisenge and Kipkurui were entrusted to lead the SPL champions’ attack in this historic of fixtures with Momanyi finding a place in the starting line-up in defence.

Kipkurui was soon involved in the first talking point of the game when Tarek Ahmed cluttered him to the face in the second minute, both men writhing on the turf in pain.

The Zamalek defender was lucky to escape with only a yellow card having appeared to use his elbow with Oktay leading the protests.

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In the seventh, Gor fell behind to the Egyptian league leaders with the home side the architects of their own downfall when Kenya international goalkeeper Oluoch dropped a clanger and gifted Zamalek an ill-deserved corner.

Half cleared

The delivery to the box was only half cleared, with the ball falling to Hassan who fired in a precise left-footed low shot past the despairing dive of Oluoch for 0-1 to the visitors.

Gor got a sniff on goal in the 14th when experienced defender, Mohamed Hamdy, miscued a routine clearance but Tuyisenge who was in close attendance could not pounce.

Zamalek head coach Christian Gross- a former Tottenham Hotspur FC and Stuttgart FC boss-then saw his side come close to extend the lead when ex-France side Metz forward, Tunisian Ferjani Sassi fired just wide of Oluoch’s goal.

Gor, with the busy Kipkurui rising in prominence, took charge of the game and in the 25th Kasarani erupted when Tuyisenge beat Mahmoud Abd Elrehim for 1-1.

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A long floating ball from the left was headed across goal by the former Zoo Kericho FC star, evading a defender and finding the record Gor signing who in turn, passed to the advancing Francis Kahata before accepting the return to fire into the net.

Inspired by getting level, Gor turned on the screw, passing up two wonderful chances to go ahead when Boniface Omondi shot straight at the keeper before Kipkurui forced a clearance off the crossbar by Abdallah Saleh for a fruitless corner.

Zamalek had not read the warning signs and in the 38th, Tuyisenge once again showed his predatory instincts when he headed in a deep Omondi cross from the right at the far post despite the best efforts of custodian Abd Elrehim to keep it out.

Kasarani was now rocking but all the good work was undone a minute to the break when Gor were pegged back by a second Hassan strike that tricked into the net via a deflection that wrong-footed Oluoch, who had already committed himself.

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That closed an exciting opening half worthy of the clash of giants which ended with home fans shouting for Oluoch to be substituted as the teams went to the dressing room tied at 2-2.

Zamalek shaded play at the start of the second but it was the home fans who were up on their feet in the 51st when Kipkurui put Gor 3-2 ahead with a thumping header from a deep cross from the right delivered by his strike partner, Tuyisenge.

Brilliant stop

It was the first international goal for the hard-working forward but in living with the theme of the match, Gor almost gifted Zamalek an immediate route back when Hassan was allowed to drift into the box but for once, a finish deserted him before the rebound fizzled just over the crossbar moments after the restart.

Kipkurui, now oozing with confidence, then sent one just over in the 54th before Kahata side-footed finish forced Abd Elrehim to produce a brilliant stop when Gor poured forward yet again in this attacking contest you could not keep your eyes off.

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The star of the show was to the disappointment of fans, forced off the field injured after he went down to a meaty challenge, paving way for the country's record international goal scorer Oliech in the 66th.

And just a minute from coming on, the former France Ligue 1 Nantes, Auxerre and AJ Ajaccio striker almost brought the house down when he came within a whisker of making it four for Gor in what would have been quite the introduction.

Khalid Boutaib then missed a chance to make it 3-3 when he fired over from close range after a header back from a free-kick and moments later, the action-packed see-saw encounter saw Oliech square the ball for Kahata but to his dismay, the midfielder screwed the ball wide from inside the box as the match entered its last quarter.

It was end to end now, Tuyisenge almost getting through for a chance to notch his hat-trick before Oluoch raced off his line and missed but Boutaib could not turn in good time after toe-poking the ball past the keeper and the home side hacked it clear.

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Oliech was denied twice by brave defending and after the second chance went begging, Oktay brought on Shakava in place of Lawrence Juma as he sought to close out the game with 10 minutes standing between his side and a famous victory over the 12-time Egyptian champions and Group D favourites.

With Zamalek committing men forward in search of an equaliser, the final flourish fell deservedly to Oliech, who raced on to a long ball, composed himself by weaving through a trailing defender before pulling the trigger to send the home fans into orbit.

Tuyisenge was then booked as he left the field injured, a blow to Gor since he will miss the next Confed Cup group tie away to Petro Atletico in Luanda, Angola but that will be a thought for another day for the home fans who will cherish this victory for as long as they live.

Sunday was indeed another great day for Kenyan football.

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GOR MAHIA FC SQUAD

Starting XI: 1. Boniface Oluoch, 2. Philemon Otieno, 3. Shafik Batambuze, 4. Joachim Oluoch, 5. Charles Momanyi, 6. Kenneth Miguna, 7. Boniface Omondi, 8. Lawrence Juma, 9. Jacques Tuisenge, 10. Nicholas Kipkirui, 11. Francis Kahata 

Substitutes: 12. Francis Odhiambo, 13. Wellington Ochieng, 14. Samuel Onyango, 15. George Odhiambo, 16. Erisa Ssekisambu, 17. Denis Oliech, 18. Haron Shakavah