James Magayi @magayijim
Gor Mahia’s continental dream sparked to life after Rwandan striker Jacques Tuyisenge scored late for a slim 1-0 lead against South African outfit Supersport United yesterday in Machakos.
The first leg of CAF Confederation Cup last-16 qualifier exposed K’Ogalo’s vulnerabilities against an unduly underrated Supersport ahead of their return leg on April 18.
It took a 77th minute penalty for K’Ogalo to get the break after Matsatsantsa had proven tactically astute.
Substitute Boniface Omondi whipped in a corner which came off Kekana Gomolemo as he engaged Haron Shakava in aerial duel and the referee awarded Gor the spot kick.
Hard-working Tuyisenge then stepped up and sent Reyaad Pietase the wrong way prompting a frantic end to the otherwise boring encounter.
The utterly defensive visitors went out in search of a leveller as K’Ogalo switched between killing time and pouncing for a second goal.
K’Ogalo endured a frustrating first half as Supersport kept them at bay with a meticulous high line. Attempts to float the ball over Matsatsantsa backline also flopped. By the end of first 45 minutes Kogalo forwards had been caught offside six times.
The Kenyan champions only short on target was registered in the 20th minute, a crisp free kick by George Odhiambo which was headed to the top right corner until Reyaad Pietase finger tipped it for a corner.
Lanky midfielder Humphrey Mieno was the only change made by coach Dylan Kerr from the squad that lost away to Esperance last month, playing in the stead of Philemon Otieno who was deployed at right back.
Gor Mahia looked more potent upon resumption, stringing passes with urgency and purpose but got minimal penetration as a well-mounted Supersport defence held their lines admirably. Odhiambo registered Gor’s second shot on target five minutes after restart but his low effort was palmed out for corner.
Skilful midfielder Francis Kahata then found space at time to lash a shot at goal, which troubled Pietase as failed to tame the ball on first attempt but Meddie Kagere was far off and the lanky goalkeeper recovered to gather the spilt ball.
After a subdued first half characterised by numerous mispasses Mieno enjoyed the second period and also tested Pietase from range. His shot was however, well gathered. His floated ball upfront led to the corner that yielded K’Ogalo’s penalty.
The goalscorer Tuyisenge soon left the pitch for Ivorian Ephrem Guikan to cheers from the fans thronging Kenyatta stadium. K’Ogalo also made a late substitution resting Kagere and deploying midfielder Bernard Ondiek. Supersport interim coach Keitano Tembo declared that the tie will be decided in Pretoria and warned Gor Mahia not to get over themselves.
“Gor Mahia benefitted from home calls, I’m not even about the penalty. We had our own penalty claim but did not get it. We were better than them tactically and I’m confident this result can be overturned,” Tembo said after the game.