Gor Mahia forward Austin Odhiambo rose to the occasion as he lifted Gor Mahia to a famous Mashemeji Derby comeback against eternal rivals in a friendly match played at the Nyayo National Stadium in celebration of the country’s Madaraka Day.
The game was delayed for almost half an hour as the expectant crowd waited for the Head of State and the other dignitaries who gave the match a wide berth with no explanation whatsoever.
Having scored the equalizing goal that forced the match straight into penalties after a 1-1 draw, Austin stepped up on the last pressure spot-kick, silenced all the noise from the Ingwe fans who at one time used to support him, and slotted past Levis Opiyo to send the K’Ogalo faithful into delirium after he sealed a 6-5 victory on post-match penalties to earn his team the bragging rights over Leopards as they walked away with 1 million prize money.
Ingwe, who were left nursing tears after Peter Thiong’o missed the sudden death penalty, walked away with half a million and again on the losing side in a record that has stretched since 2016.
Philemon Otieno, Samuel Onyango, Benson Omala, Dennis Ng’ang’a, John Macharia and Austin Odhiambo were successful for K’Ogalo in the penalties, while Tedian Esilaba, Washington Munene, Victor Omune, Josephat Lopaga, John Makwatta netted for Ingwe.
Leopards winger Peter Thiong’o sent his penalty sky-high.
In the match, Ingwe, with their stylish possession-based football, had dominated the opening exchanges with their showboating but it is Gor Mahia who had the first sniff on goal when Ugandan international Peter Lwasa located the head of Benson Omala who had made a good run behind the napping Ingwe defense.
The Kisumu Day alumnus however could not get his bearings right as his header rolled across the face of goal without asking any question of Levis Opiyo between the sticks.
Despite the game being very premature, patterns were already developing with Gor Mahia keen on hitting on the counter whenever they turned over possession as their rivals stayed true to their possession philosophy trying to penetrate