Goals from Ugandan duo Dan Sserunkuma and Geoffrey Kizito ensured that the champions opened their quest to defend title on a winning note
Gor Mahia opened their title defence on a positive note after edging out Nairobi City Stars 2-0 in a mid-week Kenya Premier League match played at City Stadium on Thursday.
Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia began the road to defend their title on a positive note with a well earned 2-0 win over Nairobi City Stars at City Stadium on Thursday.
Ugandans Danny Sserunkuma and Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito struck in either half to give the Bobby Williamson coached side maximum points. Gor Mahia started the game pressing high up the City Stars half and they camped there for most parts of the game.
As early as the third minute, Dan Sserunkuma was already causing trouble to the City Stars defense. However, his early tap from Timonah Wanyonyi’s cross was saved by the keeper Fred Majani. In the sixth minute, Majani was again at full stretch to save off another effort, this time from Jared Obwoge who had met Shabaan Kenga’s cross.
But in the 9th minute, there was no stopping the high tempo Gor attack, Danny Sserunkuma slotting home from within the six yard area after Wanyonyi had delivered the cross. This was Wanyonyi’s first start of the season after battling with an injury picked up in pre season.
Wanyonyi and Shabaan Kenga were a handful for City Stars’ Nigerian left back Lawrence Kasadha, who found it hard keeping up with their pace. However, as the game progressed, Gor Mahia began to slow down on the tempo and they lost balls easily, allowing City Stars to gain confidence by more possession.
Kevin ‘Master’ Ochieng and George Midenyo playing against their former employers, both had chances on the opposite end, but Gor Mahia defense never allowed them space, each shooting over the bar. Moses Otieno also tried his luck from distance but again it went wayward never troubling Jerim Onyango.
In 39th minute, City Stars survived another onslaught of Gor attacks, again permeating from the leaking left flank manned by Kasaadha, Musa Mohammed bringing in a low cross, Danny Sserunkuma seeing his shot blocked with Shabaan Kenga also being blocked off from the rebound.
Jared Obwoge also had a chance minutes later but his shot from the edge of the box skied over the bar. City Stars’ first chance at goal came, surprisingly through the inefficient Kasaadha, who struck a free-kick from the edge of the box straight into Jerim Onyango’s arms. But that proved to be his last kick of the game as he was brought off for Dennis Ng’ang’a.
In the second period, Gor Mahia took back to their attacking strategy but they were never clinical enough in finishing. Jerim Onyango was called into his second save of the game to deny Dennis ‘Wise’ Okoth’s volley after George Midenyo had tapped the ball in his path from Kevin ‘Master’ Ochieng’s cross.
But Gor delivered the perfect reply just two minutes from that incident, Kizito thundering home a superb volley after the City Stars defense could not clear the ball beyond the 18 yard area. Kizito tried his effort from the same distance minutes later but the shot went over.
The introduction of George ‘Blackberry’ Ochiambo for injured Timonah Wanyonyi and Rama Salim for Jared Obwoge had given Gor an attacking impetus as they increased their raids upfront. Jerim Onyango largely remained a passenger for most parts of the game as City Stars under new coach Robinson Ofwoko constantly barked but never had teeth to bite.