Kenyan champions Gor Mahia have one foot in the CAF Champions League group stage after tearing apart Nigerian league winners Lobi Stars 3-1 at Kasarani Stadium last evening.
Gor were in their element after early season struggles and took just six minutes to prise open Lobi Stars backline and finished the job in the opening 45 minutes. Playing for the first time in over four years without club legend and assistant captain Zedekiah Otieno in the technical area, K’Ogalo ran rings at their visitors and could have scored more.
Coach Hassan Oktay benched George Odhiambo and kept faith with Samuel Onyango and Burundian Mustafa Francis to partner fit-again Jacques Tuyisenge upfront. The trio was devastating as they operated at devastating pace. Lobi Stars struggled with their pace and were lucky not to have conceded more.
Midfielder Francis Kahata returned from self-imposed Champions League exile to set up Tuyisenge for the opener.
From the right of side of Gor’s attack, Kahata played a tantalising through ball and Tuyisenge latched on to it, controlled with the first touch before smashing it in the net with his second.
Kahata was involved with the second goal 15 minutes later when questionable defending by the visitors allowed Onyango to whip in an acrobatic kick from six yards after Tuyisenge’s pull back found him unmarked.
K’Ogalo eased pressure a bit after going two goals up and were duly punished from a corner they had conceded casually in the 31st minute. They remained rooted to the ground as Samuel Martins nodded in Kwambe Solomon’s in swinging cross.
The away goal left Gor deflated as the Nigerians celebrated a lifeline. However, the celebrations were cut short almost instantly as Gor restored their two goal advantage with Onyango registering his brace.
A through ball from Tuyisenge set Onyango in on goal and he jigged past the on rushing goalkeeper but appeared to lose the ball after cutting back in past a defender who had retreated to cover the goal. A confused search showed him the ball and he slid it in the net to spark frenzied celebrations in the stands.
In the second half, K’Ogalo made three clear chances and squandered all.
the best being Tuyisenge’s miss while faced with an empty net. Mustafa also had the chance to endear himself with a goal but shot wide once and saw another effort blocked.