James Magayi @magayijim
Defending champions Gor Mahia romped back to the summit of Kenyan Premier League (KPL) following a thrilling 5-2 victory over gallant but lightweight Thika United at sodden Kenyatta stadium, Machakos yesterday.
Thika United made K’Ogalo work for the victory as they went ahead twice through the effervescent Eugene Mukangula and Clement Mata. On a sad not, two Gor fans travelling to Machakos for the match, were run over after falling off from the bus they were travelling in.
The two were dangling from the railings of the bus or sat on the roof. This is the seventh such case that has turned tragic for the club fanatics in the last three years.
The former took just five minutes before opening scores as he outwitted Joash Onyango in the fifth minute then lashed a fierce drive that Shaban Odhonji in Gor Mahia’s goal could not stop.
For the first time in the league this season the 16 times league winners were chasing a game. Skipper Haron Shakava spurned a great chance to draw Kogalo level when he blasted the cross bar from close range but K’Ogalo were level one minute from half-time.
Ivorian Ephrem Guikan displayed great technique to tame Jacques Tuyisenge’s incising past amidst Thika players and crisply finished in the near post to take Gor level at half-time.
Mata waited 15 minutes after restart before flicking in a clever free kick past a dazed Odhonji to set off last year’s alarms when the minnows upset K’Ogalo.
That was not to be as second half substitutes Samuel Onyango, Meddie Kagere and Francis Kahata put the stubborn Thika to bed with clinical finishes after Alan Owiny had inexplicably turned Tuyisenge’s deflected shot into his own net to draw Gor Mahia level.
A mistimed outing by Owiny allowed Guikan to whip in a low cross who’s poor clearance by the Thika backline flocking the goal to cover Owiny allowed Onyango to thrust K’Ogalo ahead shortly after coming on.
Kagere, a late substitution then latched on to Kahata’s measured through ball before scoring under pressure from Dennis Odhiambo in the 89th minute.
The inventive midfielder who scored for Gor against Supersport in the CAF Confederation Cup then got on the score sheet with a cheeky loop that will contend for goal of the season and remain in memories beyond 2018.
In an earlier fixture at Kenyatta stadium, Titus Wamalwa scored from the spot twice to hand Ulinzi Stars three points against relegation candidates Nakumatt in a five-goal thriller.
The soldiers fell behind to Haron Nyakan’s ninth minute opener but Elvis Nandwa replied 27 minutes later before three penalties decided the fate of the game.
First, Donald Mosoti conceded a penalty in the 70th minute gifting Wamalwa his first spot kick. Mosoti then scored what looked like the last goal of the game from the 89th minute to draw Nakumatt level.
But Nakumatt conceded another penalty in the 92nd minute and Wamalwa completed his brace from the spot. In another match Vihiga United thrashed Nzoia Sugar 3-1 while Sony Sugar and Posta Rangers played a scoreless draw.