Gor Mahia put themselves in a precarious position after they settled for a barren draw with Esperance of Tunisia in the Africa Champions League first round first leg match at a rain-drenched Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos yesterday.
Gor were impressive against the North Africans and with a bit of luck and precision they could have gone to the second leg in Tunis with a two or three goal cushion had Meddie Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge been clinical with the chances which they created.
Esperance will be happy with the result ahead of the decide at home after enduring a torrid afternoon and frustrating Gor for a long spell with time-wasting which went unpunished.
Watched by a sizable crowd, which included Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his Nyeri counterpart Mutahi Kahiga, Gor were hungrier for goals amongst the two teams with the closest coming from Tuyisenge inside 16 minutes.
From a defence splitting cross from George “Blackberry” Odhiambo, Tuyisenge disentangled himself from the defence line of Chasnsen Dhab and Houcine Erebra and pulled the trigger which cannoned off the woodwork with Esperance goalkeeper Noel Ben Shjerifin rooted to the ground.
With Gor clearly putting in an assured performance in the first half, Kagere was the first to have a sniff at Esperance’s goalmouth when he made a dizzying run leaving Saleh Derba for dead but misfired from the six-yard box.
Esperance struggled to create anything of note during the session until the 24th minute when Haithm Jouini played the ball into the path of Yousef Blail whose show was scrambled away to safety by Gor skipper Haroun Shakava.
Kagere knocked on the visitors’ door once more at the half hour mark, but was unlucky to have his shot cleared off the lines by Dhab. Esperance came a bit organised in the second half with Gor goalie Boniface Oluoch making a brilliant save from Fossenmy Coulibaly.
Speaking after the match, Gor coach Dylan Kerr said he was disappointed with the result but nonetheless said there is much more to play for in the return game in Tunisia.