Gor Mahia were held to a barren draw by Anse Re Union of Seychelles in their first leg preliminary match at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.
The home side went on the at attack right from the word go. An overlapping Christopher Wekesa won the ball in the opposing defense testing Ricky Rose in goal with a feeble attempt.
It was however, Rama Salim who should have put the home side ahead after six minutes but he guided Moses Odhiambo's goal bound shot out of play. Gor did not relent and continued to pile pressure while their opponents opted to stay back and observe the situation.
At the 11th minute mark, Paul Kiongera playing his first international match for Gor, picked out Rama Salim with a long pass but the striker was stopped by a hawk eyed Rose who was quick to come out and save the situation.
A minute later, the visitors embodied by a sense of confidence began to attack. First Yavanny Rose out-jumped the Gor defense but his effort went wide. Then Huso Sezoy sneaked between Gor defenders but shot wide.
Kiongera had a miss of the half when he failed to score from a rebound when the ball fell on his legs from an initial shot by Dan Ssrenkuma.
Kiongera had a chance to make amends from a 29th minute free-kick which took a deflection for Gor's first corner. As the first half wore on, it was evident that the visitors would be content with a draw as they completely locked up the midfield.
Gor were forced to bring in an extra midfielder and Kevin Omondi was thrown in for Joseph Njuguna. There was an ugly incident in the 42nd minute when a fan from the terraces threw a water bottle at second assistant referee Belachew Gizaw.
In an impressive move, Gor security moved in quickly and took him out of the stadium before handing him over to the police but not before he had received a thorough beating.
Gor kicked-off the second half on a high and Kevin Omondi missed connecting with a header from a Christopher Wekesa effort on the right flank.
Three minutes into the second half Anse goalkeeper Ricky Rose came out to stop an advancing Sserenkuma. In the 50th minute Ethiopian referee Haileyesus Bazezew flashed his first yellow card as he cautioned Nerve Caspard for diving.
Then Gor pulled out Kiongera for Edwin Lavatsa but the fans were clearly not amused and showed us much with muted protests.
Gor coach Zradvko Logarusic was again jeered when he pulled out Christopher Wekesa for Victor Ali in the 64th minute.
The match changing moment came in the 68th minute when Gor Mahia's Teddy Akumu was sent off for a professional foul. The reigning Kenyan Premier League (KPL) midfielder of the year, received a heroes send off to the dressing room considering that he had saved the team from conceding a goal. Gor must work harder to win the return match early next month.