Kenyan champions Gor Mahia have crashed out of the continent’s elite club competition following a 2-0 home loss to USM Alger of Algeria at Kasarani stadium last evening.
The 6-1 aggregate score recorded over both legs means K’Ogalo forfeit the promised Sh54 million riches. The possessed more of the ball and created myriads of chances but lacked the cutting edge necessary crushing a seasoned continental participant like USM Alger.
Gor Mahia will for the third year running step down to the second tier Confederation Cup where they find their next opponent on Wednesday night when the CAF Inter Clubs Committee conducts the draw for group stage play-offs.
Gor Mahia were perhaps, amateurishly over enthusiastic in their quest to overturn the 4-1 score line suffered a fortnight ago in Algeria. Buoyed by victory craving fan base and courted by the country’s second largest beer manufacturers Keroche Breweries, Gor Mahia got off on the wrong foot conceding in the 4th and 15th minutes of their home fixture to all but bid the farewell to the Champions League.
Right back Wellington Ochieng conceded a needless throw in four minutes into the match and the visitors capitalized on their height advantage and proximity cheaply accorded them to poke home with a header. Gor Mahia. Stunned by the early set back pored forward in search of a route back but suffered more damages when against the run of play USM Alger pounced with a quick counter attack to double their scores.
The double blow left K’Ogalo needing to score six against the Algerian champions to proceed into Champions League group stage. Nicholas Kipkirui missed glorious opportunities to ease the pressure, first fluffing a one on one situation with USM Alger goalkeeper Smail Manouri then skying what ought to have been a simple tap in. Dickson Ambundo also failed to reduce the deficit as Wellington Ochieng missed with close headers.
Steven Polack made an early change in the second half, Ernest Wendo preferred for the tiring Ambundo, a change that pushed Lawrence Juma to the wing. K’Ogalo exerted more dominance after the change without breaking their visitors.
Wellington Ochieng missed another close header, Kenneth Muguna missed from the box and Kipkirui’s attempted scorpion kick from 12 yards failed miserably. Polack made a second puzzling change, hooking off winger Boniface Omondi for Joachim Oluoch, a natural center half. The substitute hit the cross bar in his first piece of action but it was the hosts that nearly added a third late in the game.
Wendo the midfield substitute gave away the ball cheaply, twice, in dangerous places but the hosts were let down by poor finishing.