A performance brimming with character saw off Ulinzi Stars at Afraha Stadium as Gor Mahia rolled up their sleeves, stayed true to their footballing principles and ran out worthy winners with a 2-0 score line today.
Francis Kahata tapped in the opener in the 12th minute and Jacques Tuyisenge secured the points 4 minutes from time.
Ulinzi Stars had their chances, but they could hardly complain about the result.
More importantly, Gor Mahia’s win opens their lead at the top of the SportPesa Premier League standings to 9 points with three games in hand. And worth noting, they are still unbeaten in the 2018 season.
Ulinzi Stars were first to show their intentions with Elvis Nandwa finding space on the right four minutes into the match to send in a shot that sailed close to Bonface Oluoch’s upright before rolling our for a goal kick.
Then in an attempt to respond, Godfrey Walusimbi raced down the left channel to deliver in well for the advancing Meddie Kagere but the striker who was already adjudged to be running ahead of the defenders could only see his headed effort harmlessly sail over the cross bar.
In the 12th minute, a long ball was sent forward in search of Kagere but the striker lost possession as he went down in the ensuing tussle with Ulinzi Stars skipper Mohammed Hassan. But this only played to the advantage of George Odhiambo who picked the ball, raced on towards goal and set up Kahata for a tap into an open net after goalkeeper Jacktone Odhiambo had left his line in an attempt to close down on George Odhiambo.
Ulinzi were almost gifted with an opportunity to put things back on level five minutes later, but Joash Onyango reacted fast to deflect Elvis Nandwa’s effort out for a corner. This was after the Gor Mahia defender had attempted to pass the ball back to Oluoch but his header lacked power gifting the lurking Ulinzi striker possession.
The last chance of the opening half fell to Ernest Wendo after an attacking run down the right by Kagere and the overlapping Philemon Otieno, but the advancing midfielder could not release a shot quick enough allowing the Ulinzi Stars defense to re-organize and box him out.
Ulinzi Stars had the best of their chances in the second period – they thrice came close to grabbing an equalizer but could not find the back of the net.
First it was Elvis Nandwa who missed from a sliding close-range connection three minutes from the restart. In the build-up action, the homeside crafted an attack from the right flank and the race towards goal was won by their attacking wingers, the delivery well sent in only to sail wide from the last connection.
Then came a long ball from the back that saw Hassan made a surging run that beat the visitors’ advanced offside line, he looked up and saw Oluoch advancing and looped the ball over only to be denied by the cross bar and the danger cleared away by Shakava.
The third chance came from a spirited team effort down the righ. The defense struggled to clear, Oluoch was already beaten and well off his line, but Otieno had him covered clearing the ball off the line.
Kagere made a good run past Ulinzi’s George Omondi on the left and set up a race into the opposition box but his run into the area was well read by Ulinzi Stars custodian who rushed out to collect the ball.
But the visitors were not done yet with this match and Jacques Tuyisenge grabbed the second goal in the 86th minute.
The goal moment resulted from a poor clearance by Hassan that saw him turn a delivery from a corner towards his goal. Ulinzi’s keeper stretched to parry the ball away but not away from Tuyisenge who struck it home with the second attempt.
The win gave Gor Mahia a solid lead at the top with 43 points from 17 matches.