The last meeting between the two sides on August, 2018, ended in a 2-1 defeat to Gor Mahia, at the same venue last season, where Bandari went into the historical records as the first Kenyan club to have brought K'Ogalo's 22-match unbeaten run to a halt, in the domestic competition.
Once again, against all odds, coach Bernard Mwalala picked maximum points from the defending champions to send a strong statement to his rivals that his second-place finish last campaign was not a fluke.
Samuel Onyango missed a clear chance to give K'Ogalo the lead early on and the Dockers responded to the threat with an equally vicious attack from a dead-ball situation, though the visitors' defence was alert.
Bandari then won another dangerous free kick from outside the 18-meter yard, but Felly Mulumba was flagged down for an offside. Philemon Otieno was a stumbling block for the host.
For the better part of the first half, Otieno was solid in Gor Mahia defense, but even the hardest rock when subject to a lot of pressure will eventually cave in. It was just a matter of time before Gor Mahia defence caved into the constant pressure piled by Bandari.
William Wadri, despite his diminutive stature, rose above the tall K’Ogalo defenders to fire a powerful header past Boniface Oluoch as Bandari took the lead, three minutes into the half-time break.
Francis Mustapha won a free-kick on a promising situation after he was brought down but Shafik Batambuze’s cheekily floated ball was not utilized by the many green shirts inside Bandari's box.
A poor defensive blunder gifted Bandari the second goal but the Dockers paid the price after Yema Mwana was pulled out after colliding with Oluoch. David King’atua had the easiest of goals so far in the new season when what he had to do was a simple tap-in after Oluoch lost his footing in his attempt to clear a poor back pass from a Gor Mahia defender.
Substitute Isaac Kipkirui pulled one back, a goal that revived K’Ogalo’s hopes of a possible comeback but that was just by a mirage. At the end, Bandari picked three vital points that left them perched at the summit on match day one.
Gor Mahia XI: Boniface Oluoch, Philemon Otieno, Shafik Batambuze, Joash Onyango, Harun Shakava, Ernest Wendo, Samuel Onyango, Francis Kahata, Humphrey Mieno, Ephrem Guikan and Francis Mustafa.
Reserves: Fredrick Onyango, Pascal Ogweno, Benard Ondieki, Cercidy Okeyo, George Odhiambo and Isaac Kipkirui.