K’Ogalo came into the match without the services of influential Francis Kahata, who is reportedly on his way out and defender Karim Nizigiyimana, who was not included in the Caf Champions League squad.
The likes of Shafik Batambuze, Kenneth Muguna and Erisa Ssekisambu were given an opportunity to show what they are bringing to the seventeen times league champions. The Kenyan champions started on a brighter note, pinning the opponents in their own half with ambitious counter attacks, but were unable to trouble the goalkeeper as the defenders did their job well.
Captain Harun Shakava had a chance to open the scoring with about twenty minutes gone but his effort went way over the bar. It was a wake-up call for the Malawian champions to ensure the danger is taken to the other side. Midfielders Kayira and Henry Kabichi rose up for the occasion, ensuring the hosts do not get a leeway in the midfield.
The perfect chance for Nyasa Big Bullets to score came with a few minutes to the break, but striker Kangunje failed to capitalize on it. The home team had a couple of free-kicks in the promising position but Batambuze could not find the back of the net as the visitors remained solid at the back.
Jacques Tuyisenge was forced off within the first fifteen minutes following an injury, and Samuel Onyango was introduced to take his place. It was a blow for the Green Army, who were looking for an early goal to disorganize the visitors.
Both teams played cautiously and struggled to get the ball in the danger zone as the first half whistle came calling. Nyasa Bullets came looking determined to get something in the second half, pushing for a goal, but K’Ogalo remained resilient at the back.
George Odhiambo did well to go past his markers but the final product was missing. Erisa Ssekisambu gave his best but at times, the disjointed display came back to haunt the Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno led side.
In the 52nd minute, Gor Mahia thought they have scored an opener courtesy of Samuel Onyango , but the assistant referee's offside flag cut short the celebrations. A good ball was delivered in from the left but Zond was in a good position to clear the danger.
The home team upped the tempo in search for the opening goal, something that prompted the visitors to make some changes and fill the midfield to stop them from penetrating.
Goalkeeper Kakhobwe was called into action in the 88th minute to deny the dangerous Odhiambo. When all seemed destined for a barren draw, magic happened! Substitute Benard Ondiek managed to get his way past the water tight defence before hitting the back of the net to give his team a slim advantage ahead of the second leg.
Gor Mahia XI : Peter Odhiambo, Philemon Otieno, Shafiq Batambuze, Joash Onyango, Haron Shakava, Earnest Wendo, Humphrey Mieno, Kenneth Muguna, George Odhiambo, Erisa Ssekisambu and Jacques Tuyisenge.
Subs : Boniface Oluoch, Charles Momanyi, Pascal Ogweno, Cercidy Okeyo, Benard Ondiek, Francis Mustafa and Samuel Onyango.