Gor Mahia restored their 12 point lead at the top of the Kenyan Premier League following a 2-1 victory over rivals AFC Leopards on Sunday.
George Odhiambo’s second-half goal handed Dylan Kerr his third Mashemeji Derby win in a top match played at Kasarani Stadium.
Once again K’Ogalo took home the bragging rights after picking three vital points to extend their dominance over Ingwe in Kenya’s biggest derby. The first-ever meeting between both sides ended in favour of Gor Mahia, who picked a similar scoreline victory in 1968.
True to its meaning, the derby, failed to erase the 46-year record of highest number of goals scored in a single match that stands at five. The biggest scoreline ever registered in this derby was a 4-1 victory in favour of K’Ogalo in 1971.
Odhiambo and Francis Kahata were lively for Gor Mahia right from the start. On the other hand, new signing Said Tsuma was a solid rock in AFC Leopards’ midfield, same as Marvin Nabwire, who gave life to the game from the right flank while Whyvonne Isuza seemed harmless until he pulled an equalizer late in the first half.
Backed by nine-point lead at the summit, Gor Mahia stepped to the pitch oozing with self-assurance. K’Ogalo made the first meaningful threat in the opening minute after Isaac Odura and Ezekiel Owade failed to deal with a Kahata’s well cut free-kick from the left.
Abdalla Salim kicked the ball to safety following confusion between the defender and the goalkeeper, but the referee called for a goal kick. On the other side, Boniface Oluoch was forced into an early save from a set piece in the sixth minute as both sides tried to exert their weight behind the ball.
Odhiambo teased Ingwe’s defence with another well-floated free-kick, two minutes later, but Owada came off his line to pick up the danger.
Captain Haron Shakava, the last man from Gor Mahia squad to have scored against AFC Leopards before this match, threatened with a header in the 17th minute, but his attempt rested on the roof of the net.
But Gor Mahia took the lead just four minutes later after AFC Leopards assistant captain Salim Abdalla gave out the ball from a poor back pass and the Rwandan striker Jacques Tuyisenge raced into AFC Leopards box to slot past an on charging Odera for the opening goal in the 21st minute.
The goal gave Gor Mahia more impetus as they temporarily took full control of the match. Gor Mahia came close to extending their leading from another set piece situation when Humphrey Mieno forced a touch on the ball from a forest of legs but Owade pulled up a save.
With the game tilted in favour of K’Ogao heading into the break, Isuza pulled a moment of magic with a bicycle kick to level the scores. New signing Alex Orotomal was thrown in right after the break and the big Nigerian forward injected some shred of confidence in Ingwe’s side.
But despite creating numerous chances early after the restart, it was Gor Mahia, who once again took the lead with a volley from Odhiambo to tilt the scoreline in favour of the league leaders.
Kahata floated the ball behind Ingwe defenders and ‘Blackberry’ demonstrated his class when he connected it past Owade, who made very little effort to make any save.
The win saw Gor Mahia take their point tally to 52, with three games at hand.
Gor Mahia XI: Boniface Oluoch, Joachim Oluoch, Godfrey Walusimbi, Joash Onyango, Harun Shakava, Humphrey Mieno, Innocent Wafula, Francis Kahata, Ephraim Guikan, Jacques Tuyisenge and George Odhiambo.
AFC Leopards XI: Ezekiel Owade, Sikhayi Dennis, Oduro Isaac, Abdallah Salim, Mike Kibwage, Marvin Nabwire, Tsuma Said, Ezekiel Odera, Edward Seda, Odeny Jafary and Whyvonne Isuza.