NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 9 – Goals in either half from Kenneth Muguna and Francis Kahata saw reigning Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia outclass arch rivals AFC Leopards 2-0 at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Saturday afternoon to pick the Mashemeji Derby bragging rights.
Kenneth Muguna put in a blinder of a performance for the reigning champions to help them to a morale boosting victory especially ahead of Wednesday’s CAF Confederations Cup second Group D match in Luanda, Angola against home side Petro Atletico.
AFC continued willowing in their disturbing form as they picked up a fifth loss in six games, condemning them further down the log into the relegation spots.
While it was expected that Gor boss Hassan Oktay would tinker with his squad ahead the Petro Atletico game, the Cypriot went in with his strongest squad save for striker Dennis Oliech who was injured.
AFC’s Cassa Mbungo made a single change from the team that lost to Mount Kenya United in midweek, Christopher Oruchum coming into defense while skipper Robinson Kamura was pushed into the defensive midfield role, Eugene Mukangula dropping to the bench.
Gor were simply in a class of their own in the opening half and reduced AFC to zero shots on target in the first 45 and a minute of added time. The reigning champions showed they are a class above their arch rivals, dominating the game and passing the ball with so much ease.
Muguna who seems to be getting back into the form that propelled him to the player of the year award in 2017 had the first sniff at goal barely three minutes into the game.
The midfielder broke into the box from the right after a quickly started freekick found AFC sleeping on their bellies, but Eric Ndayishimiye came to the rescue making a save ay his near post with Boniface Omondi missing an effort of heading the rebound home.
Gor continued pressing AFC and Ndayishimiye seemed to have the jitters of his first derby, one of his miss-passes in the area almost costing the side but he redeemed himself to pick up Philemon Otieno’s cross as Whyvonne Isuza screamed to his neck to urge him keep calm.
But, AFC’s soft defense broke on the quarter hour mark when Muguna opened the scoring with a second bite of the cherry in a move he had engineered himself.
Francis Kahata swung in a cross from the left and though Christopher Oruchum and Salim Abdallah managed to block the first effort, Muguna picked up the spills and nudged it in between Ndayishimiye’s legs.
AFC continued dominating the sizeable crowd roaring to their every one-two tick-tock kind of passing.
Muguna came close to picking number two for himself and the team on the half hour mark but his venomous strike from the edge of the box after his one-two interchange of passes with Batambuze was blocked, came crushing against the crossbar.
AFC were pinned in their own half and seldom broke to create chances.
But in the final eight minutes of the half, they showed glimpses of a side that can score when calm. In the 37th minute, Marcel Kaheza’s freekick was blocked by the wall and Isuza’s attempt to head it home off the rebound was over.
A minute later, Joash Onyango lost the ball in a dangerous position With Tatuwe Wayeka intercepting and passing to Jaffary Owiti wide on the left, but his shot was wide.
In between, Jacques Tuyisenge came close but his connection from the edge of the six yard box off a Boniface Omondi cross on the left went wide.
At the stroke of halftime, Isacc Kipyegon tried to get his side back into the game with a curling freekick off the right,, but the effort sailed inches over the bar.
In the second half, AFC came back a bit recharged and they started off with so much energy as they sought the single ticket that would hand the, a way back into the match.
They nearly did so 12 minutes into the half when Owiti beat keeper Boniface Oluoch to a Kamura freekick and headed it back to the edge of the six yard box, but Isuza somehow failed to hit the target with Batambuze recovering to clear.
They were punished for that glaring miss four minutes later when Shakava’s missed header off a Kahata freekick confused Ndayishimiye, with the ball dropping at the bottom right of his goal.
Immediately, Mbungo threw in a sub, Saad Musa coming off for Mukangula.
Ingwe dodged a bullet when Tuyisenge nodded home at the back post off a Kahata cross, but the second assistant’s referee was up for offside.
AFC tried to get into the game and had two chances, first, Vincent Oburu who had just come on stealing the ball off Joash Onyango before feeding Mukangula, but the latter’s shot whistled just inches off target.
Boniface Oluoch was called into his first save of the afternoon minutes later when he punched away a shot from Owiti off another industrious supply from Oburu.
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