Captain Martin Imbalambala scored a late wonder goal as AFC Leopards’ salvaged a vital draw against rivals Gor Mahia in a Kenyan Premier League derby played at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday.
It was a balanced first half and the one goal scored by each team was a perfect representative of the goings on the pitch. Gor Mahia got first corner in seventh minute after Martin Imbalambala had denied Godfrey Walusimbi a goal scoring opportunity.
Noah Wafula, who has come into the Leopards’ striking force after a long lay off, was impressive upfront. In the ninth minute, he was picked out well by Musa Mudde but his shot went wide.
Then Timothy Otieno laid up a great cross for Patrick Oboya but Wycliffe Kasaya in goal was too quick to stop the danger. As the match moved from coast to coast, it was always a question of time before either of the teams scored a goal.
In this case it was AFC Leopards’. At the half hour mark, James Situma from the free-kick found Austin Ikenna, who flicked the ball to a waiting Noah Wafula and he scored with the easiest of efforts.
Gor Mahia were back in the match 12 minutes later when Sserunkuma sneaked between defenders to head home a Godfrey Walusimbi corner to end the first half 1-1.
The second half kick-off was delayed for almost ten minutes as police fired tear-gas to disperse fighting fans in an ugly scene that was unexpected. When the match finally started, Gor Mahia were dominant in the first few minutes and within two minutes of resumption had gone ahead.
The move started with Musa Mohammed, who won a free ball in front of the Leopards goal. The defender made a long shot past the opposing back-line. Leopard's defence hesitated to clear the danger thinking Dan Sserunkuma was in an off-side position and allowing the Ugandan to sneak and stab home his second.
Two minutes after that goal, Leopards’ nearly pulled one back but James Situma's header was put out by Patrick Oboya. In the 55th minute, David Owino failed to connect a well taken free kick by Eric Ochieng as Gor Mahia kept up the pressure.
Leopards’ made the first substitution resting Musa Mudde for Jacob Keli and Noah Wafula for Humphrey Mieno. Gor Mahia rested Patrick Oboya for Moses Mburu. The second half substitutions worked well for Leopards’ as they got more balls upfront forcing their opponents to make mistakes.
In the 82nd minute, Gor Mahia goalkeeper Jerim Onyango seemed to have left his line prematurely and allowed Martin Imbalambala to slot in the second for Leopards.
Before then Onyango had looked shaky in goal coming out unnecessarily and was always a question of time on when he would be punished.