Gor Mahia Silence AFC Leopards In Charged Mashemeji Derby

Feb 09 - by Louis Kalinga for SportPesa News

SPL champions move up to second on the log after Kenneth Muguna and Francis Kahata inspired a 2-0 victory over the old enemy on Saturday at a rocking MISC Kasarani

Gor Mahia FC players (L to R) Shafiq Batambuze, Jacques Tuyisenge and Harun Shakava celebrate the opening goal with scorer Kenneth Muguna (partly hidden) during their SportPesa Premier League Mashemeji Derby against AFC Leopards SC at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Saturday, February 9, 2019. PHOTO/SPN

  • Midfielders Kenneth Muguna and Francis Kahata made headlines when they struck in both halves as the record 17-time domestic league winners earned the bragging rights
  • New Leopards head coach, Rwandese Andre Casa Mbungo has a job in his hands with his side left languishing in 15th on 10, two above the SPL basement as the proud 12-time league champions face the risk of being dragged into a relegation dog fight having suffered their sixth loss of an underwhelming campaign
  • There was to be no way back for Ingwe and their blue and white shirted supporters trooped back to the Den with defeat ringing in their ears after the final whistle as the Green Army poured to the streets to set off another victory party

NAIROBI, Kenya- SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions, Gor Mahia FC punished their domestic arch-rivals AFC Leopards SC for sloppy defending by racing to a 2-0 victory in the 85th Mashemeji Derby at the MISC Kasarani on Saturday.

Midfielders Kenneth Muguna and Francis Kahata stole the headlines when they struck in both halves for the record 17-time domestic league winners who earned the bragging rights in this eternal fixture that is the biggest football game in Kenya.

Crucially, Gor delivered a terse warning to the challengers of the crown by jumping up to second on the SPL log with 22 points from 11 fixtures, three adrift of log leaders Mathare United FC who have played a game more.

New Leopards head coach -Rwandese Andre Casa Mbungo- now has a real job in his hands with his side left languishing in 15th on 10, two above the SPL basement as the proud 12-time league champions face the risk of being dragged into a relegation dog fight having suffered their sixth loss of an underwhelming campaign.

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His opposite number, Turkish-Cypriot Hassan Oktay on the other hand saw his side build on the momentum that has seen Gor win their last four fixtures on the bounce with victory over the old enemy sustaining an unbeaten run against Leopards that stretches back to March 2016.

Kenya’s record goal scorer Dennis Oliech was the most notable absentee from the line-up, with Oktay stating that the 34-year old picked up an injury in training forcing him out of the game that was a cocktail of colour punctuated by high volume from the stands. 

The game began with as much intensity as the fans in the stands and a Muguna shot in the third minute that was well saved by Eric Ndayishimiye in the Leopards goal setting the tone for the dominance the champions enjoyed throughout this clash. 

Boniface Omondi did well in the eighth to put in a cross but striker Nicholas Kipkirui failed to get a foot to it as the keeper gathered and in the 16th, the Green Army exploded into celebration when Muguna made their early pressing count with the opening goal.

Poor effort

From Leopard's perspective, it was a poor effort to concede after their defence failed to deal with a Kahata cross in the box allowing Muguna all the time to turn and swivel inside the box before turning in the ball almost apologetically to the net for 1-0. 

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 Saad Musa was the most threatening Leopards player on the pitch and his well threaded through ball in the 20th found Wayi Yeka but the latter could not keep his shot on target. 

The tide of the game was restored soon after, with the champions enjoying wave after wave in attack and with half an hour on the clock, Muguna almost extended the lead with an effort of top quality.

The midfielder played the one-two with Shafiq Batambuze before unloading a wicked right footed strike that rattled off the cross bar and two minutes later, Miguna who was having a game of his life saw another effort cleared by Leopards defender Chris Oruchum. 

Marcel Kaheza, who is playing on loan at Leopards from Simba SC then whipped in a free-kick in the 37th but Whyvonne Isuza could not keep his header down in a rare foray upfront for the losers.

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 Yet again, the champions laid siege in their opponent's goal with Rwandan forward Jacques Tuyisenge squandering a great opportunity to double the advantage in the 41st when a swinging cross from Bernard Omondi just evaded his boot with the goal at his mercy.

After the break, Gor sought to press home the advantage and three minutes into the second half, Kahata did well to head the ball back to the path of Tuyisenge but Ndayishimiye kept his side in it by reading the danger and making a smart save. 

AFC Leopards SC goal keeper Eric Ndayishimiye and Gor Mahia FC striker, Jacques Tuyisenge (right) come together during the 85th Mashemeji Derby at MISC Kasarani on February 8, 2019 his defenders pay close attention. PHOTO/AFP


It almost proved to be the shot in the arm his team needed when Leopards saw the ball cleared off the line in the 56th when Isuza composed himself well in the penalty area to fire but Joash Onyango did exceptionally well to clear. 

Oktay then made two changes to his side in succession, with Kipkurui paving way for Burundi striker, Francis Mustapha before winger George 'Blackberry' Odhiambo came on for Omondi at the hour.

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That precluded the moment that sealed the game in the 64th when a free-kick from Kahata fooled Ndayishimiye and to the surprise of everyone, trickled into the net for 2-0 but the tragedy for Leopards did little for their Green Army rivals who went ballistic.

Cassa Mbungo turned to his bench in an effort to rescue his team from defeat with Saad Musa going off for his former Thika United FC teammate Eugene Mukangula and with 10 minutes to go, Vincent Oburu raced on for Kaheza.

By that time, the assistant referee's flag had denied Tuyisenge a third for Gor after he headed in another Kahata cross in the 68th.

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There was to be no way back for Ingwe and their blue and white shirted supporters trooped back to the Den with defeat ringing in their ears after the final whistle as the Green Army poured to the streets to set off another victory party.

Line-ups

Gor Mahia FC

Starting XI: 23: Boniface Oluoch, 26. Philemon Otieno, 6.Shafik Batambuze, 12.Joash Onayngo, 18.Haron Shakava, 20.Ernest Wendo, 11.Bonface Omondi, 21. Kenneth Muguna, 7.Nicholas Kipkirui, 9. Jacques Tuyisenge, 8. Francis KahataSubs: 1. Fredrick Odhiambo, 15. Joachim Oluoch, 27.Charles Momanyi, 17.Bernard Ondiek, 25. George Odhaimbo, 23.Francis Mustapha, 22.Erisa Ssekisambu

AFC Leopards SC 

Starting XI: Ndayishimiye Eric, Isaac Kipyegon, Dennis  Sikhayi, Robinson Kamura, Salim Abdallah, Christopher Oruchum, Saad Musa, Whyvonne Isuzza, Marcel Kaheza, Odeny Jaffery, Wayi Yeka

Subs: Jairus Adira, Mainge Yusuf, Mukangula Eugene, Victor Majid, Brian Marita, Odeny  Aziz, Vincent Oburu 

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Rival AFC Leopards SC (left) and Gor Mahia FC fans exchange pleasantries ahead of the 85th Mashemeji Derby at MISC Kasarani on Saturday, February 8, 2019. PHOTO/SPN