Gor Mahia remained on course to qualify for quarter-finals of Cecafa Kagame Cup despite battling to a 1-1 draw against Al Khartoum of Sudan at National Stadium in Dar es Saalam on Friday.
Ousmailia Baba put Al Khartoum ahead in the seventh minute and here K'Ogalo goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch will blame himself for the goal. Oluoch, who has been in good form, failed to clear an earlier danger allowing Baba to tap home.
Then Eric Ochieng’ netted the equaliser in the 43rd minute allowing Gor Mahia to pick a vital point as both sides have now collected seven points after three matches. It was just the second time in the competition that Gor Mahia were trailing in the competition and it is a situation that once again tested their character as a team.
They did well to attempt a comeback with Khalid Aucho getting a free-kick in the ninth minute from a very prime position. Aucho easily picked out Mike Olunga but the effort went out. Two minutes later, Ali Abondo from a free-kick in an almost similar position sent the ball past the Al Khartoum backline and the goalkeeper Adil Eltahir in goal spilled out the ball. Olunga, who was close by had a poor follow up.
Then in the 18th minute, Innocent Wafula picked out Olunga with a well curved free-kick but the towering forward hesitated just a bit and put the ball out when he finally recovered. On the other side of the pitch, Atif Khalid hit the Gor Mahia post with goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch well beaten. Karim Nizigiyimana did well to clear the danger. By this time, the Sudanese side were clearly in charge of the match and gave the Kenyan champions plenty of trouble.
The match changed to Gor Mahia’s favour in the 42nd minute when Eric Ochieng' headed home a Khalid Aucho well taken free-kick. The Al Khartoum backline watched in disbelief as Ochieng’ headed home the equaliser.
The second half was a see-saw affair but Gor Mahia looked to have an edge. Haroun Shakava was cautioned for a bad tackle on Ahmed Adam. The same fate also befell Khalid Aucho, who picked his third yellow card of the tournament and is now in danger of missing the quarter-final match. In the 52nd minute, Innocent Wafula lobbed the ball towards Al Khartoum goal and it was punched out by Eltahir in goal.
Al Khartoum then rested Mohammed Hassan for Antony Okumu while Gor Mahia benched Ali Abondo for Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth. At this point in the match, Gor Mahia appeared to enjoy advantage in the match as they managed to keep their opponents in their own half for most of the second half.
Gor Mahia line-up v Al Khartoum: Oluoch, Aucho, Kagere, Walusimbi, Ali Abondo, Musa, Olunga, Wafula, Sibomana, Nizigiyimana and Shakava. Subs: Jerim Onyango, Collins Okoth, Wendo Ernest, Dirkir Glay, Odhiambo George, Ronald Omino and Enock Agwanda.