James Magayi @magayijim
SportPesa Premier League champions Gor Mahia’s unbeaten run survived by a whisker when they scored a scrappy equaliser in added time to salvage a 3-3 draw against 2009 winners Sofapaka at Machakos Stadium yesterday.
K’Ogalo took a two-goal lead to half-time but found themselves chasing the game in the dying minutes when second-half substitute Ezekiel Okare scored twice in four minutes after Kepha Aswani had pulled one back for Batoto ba Mungu.
A complacent Gor worryingly allowed Aswani to score from close range seven minutes after restart then let Okare head into an empty net for a leveler in the 84th minute. Kevin Kimani, who set up Aswani’s goal, won an aerial duel with Joash Onyango letting Okare beat an on rushing Gor custodian Boniface Oluoch with six minutes left.
Okare was at it again four minutes later as he capitalised on a half-hearted approach by Oluoch and Harun Shakava to put Sofapaka ahead coming from two goals down. Innocent Wafula’s scrappy header, however, preserved Gor’s unbeaten run in the 91st minute as Sofapaka made a mess of a corner.
K’Ogalo rested eight of their stars who featured against Hull City and USM Alger but were still a class above Sofapaka in the opening half before the latter returned from the break a rejuvenated side.
Erroneous officiating denied K’Ogalo a goal in the opening minute when Ivorian forward Ephrem Guikan was adjudged to have been offside as he planted the ball past Mathias Kigonya in Sofapaka’s goal.
But Gor put behind the frustration and took the lead eight minutes later albeit fortuitously when Willis Ouma’s clearance of a corner ricocheted off Meddie Kagere’s knee and flew into the net.
K’Ogalo kept up the tempo in search for a second which was another gift from the same defender as his wild header back to Sofapaka’s goalmouth found a lurking Boniface Ondiek who steered a header past Kigonya in the 33rd minute.
In Thika, Rodolfo Zapata registered his first victory as AFC Leopards coach when two goals by Whyvonne Isuza and Ezekiel Odera within seven second half minutes gave the Argentine three points over hapless hosts Thika United while in Machakos, Robert Matano lost his second successive match in charge of Tusker when cash-strapped Nakumatt defied great odds to win 2-1.