James Magayi @magayijim
Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia made a resounding statement of strength when their second string squad strolled to a comfortable 4-2 victory over Zoo in Kericho’s Green stadium yesterday.
Gor made nine changes to the squad that beat Equatorial Guinea outfit Leones Vegetarianos in CAF Champions League last Saturday but still bossed Zoo in the midweek fixture, scoring twice in both halves to reclaim top league spot with a marvelous eight-goal haul over two matches played so far.
Skipper Haron Shakava and striker Meddie Kagere were the only survivors from last weekend as Coach Dylan Kerr handed starting roles to nine back-up squad members.
The defending champions oozed class from kick-off as they kept their hosts on back foot with fit-again then eventually crocked Jacques Tuyisenge probing unceasingly for a goal.
The hosts managed to hold their own but were lucky to be level after 15 minutes of play when a low cross from Boniface Omondi on the right evaded all and spilt to Kagere but the veteran striker slipped and missed the connection.
Kogalo pile pressure on Zoo as most of play was in the minnows’ half. Zoo’s first open chance came in the 19th minute but juvenile finishing let Gor Mahia off the hook lightly.
Gideon Kibet hoofed a clearance, which put Danson Chetambe through on goal alone as Gor defenders had trooped to attack. Face-to-face with an advancing Shaban Odhonji in Gor’s goal, Chetabme’s chip over the goalkeeper veered wide and he was left ruing with his hands on his head.
Gor increased their attack but wasted myriads of chances. Tuyisenge, returning from injury then opened the scores after 35 minutes tapping in a low cross from Omondi.
The Rwandan forward then left the pitch shortly afterwards following a collision with Zoo goalkeeper Martin Elungat that left him with another seemingly nasty knee injury.
From provider of the first goal, Omondi got himself on the score sheet three minutes into second half albeit controversially.
Omondi’s shot into goal after great work by substitute George Odhiambo on the right was cleared by Isaac Kipyegon after it had marginally crossed the line. Referee David Mulongo correctly awarded the goal as Zoo protested.
Gor Mahia defence relaxed after the second goal only to be caught out by Johnson Ligare who rose in between two defenders to pull one back for Zoo from a Nicholas Kipkirui free-kick. Joachim Oluoch and Samuel Onyango then scored within three minutes of each other to give Gor a commanding 4-1 lead.