Sportpesa Premier League champions Gor Mahia FC kept their hopes for a possible season treble alive with a slightly laboured 4-2 victory over National Super League side Palos FC at the MISC-Kasarani on Wednesday afternoon.
Ali Abondo netted a brace, a goal in each half, with Michael Olunga and Harun Shakava each scoring a piece to send Gor Mahia into the shield quarter finals and very well on course for a season treble haul. K’Ogalo are also still in the KPL Top 8 with a semi-final clash against Tusker FC scheduled for Saturday 17th August 2015 at Nakuru Afraha Stadium.
Abondo put Gor Mahia in early command in the 2nd minute after Olunga flocked a header onto his path and the midfielder fired a low shot past Palos FC custodian Were. Olunga then had a shot blocked by a defender 3 minutes later after he managed to beat Were and his appeals for a penalty after the ball seemed to have struck the defender’s arm were waved away.
An effort from Innocent Wafula in the 10th minute was miscued by Palos FC defender but the goalkeeper was fast to collect with Meddie Kagere making a chase. The visitors were momentarily well pressed back into their own half in the early stages of the encounter but when they settled down in the match they threatened on the counter.
Their efforts paid off in the 20th minute after Ali Abondo lost possession in midfield with a poor pass and Palos FC sprung into a counter attack. Calvince Omanga was put through and he raced away from Eric Ochieng, who was slotted in defense by Coach Nutall, to fire a low shot to the far post past a helpless Jerim Onyango pulling the tie back on level.
Gor Mahia went on quick onslaught in search of a second goal and their efforts resulted to a corner. But the pushi in number upfront for the set piece almost proved costly when Palos FC overturned possession and broke away into counter attack only to be denied by a fine save from Onyango, parrying a Francis Alumba shot from outside the area back into play.
The makeshift Gor Mahia backline, Musa and Shakava at the center with Ochieng and Wafula in fullback roles, was leaking and the visitors nearly capitalized on the weakness. In the 24th minute, they found space down the right wing in yet another swift counter attacking build up but Onyango was in place to tip a David Amimo cross from the wing and Shakava knocked the ball out for a corner.
Barely a minute later, the complacency in the Gor Mahia midfield gifted Palos Fc possession and the skipper fired a ferocious shot that Onyango tipped over for a corner. The custodian was furious with his defense for the constant lapses and exposure.
However after the momentary pressure, K’Ogalo served the visitors a dose of their own after a swift counter attack that saw Kagere and Olunga break away from the midfield and the former setting up his strike partner at the edge of the box and he beat the oncoming Were to restore the lead at the half hour mark and they held on to the break.
K’Ogalo were once again quick from the restart and nearly doubled their lead in the 47th minute but Shakava’s back heel effort at the end of a free kick delivery by Aucho sailed off target and Kagere was late to connect. They kept their foot on the pedal and it paid off in the 52nd minute after Ali Abondo picked a pass from Ernest Wendo inside the box, turned and fired to the bottom right corner for his second goal of the match.
Three minutes later, Palos FC pock another loose ball in the midfield and Obala was put through the high standing Gor Mahia backline, he raced on and did well to round off Onyango but his touch let him down as the ball rolled off target allowing Ochieng and Musa to recover and clear the danger away. A glorious chance that was for the visitors to cut down their goal deficit.
Gor Mahia responded with a quick fire attempt but Were did well to deny Odhiambo, turning out a fine dipping long range effort from the striker in the 59th minute, but it was the visitors who were to score the next goal of the encounter. They won possession in midfield after another moment of complacency from Gor Mahia and raced away into counter attack and the goal was a beauty, Omanga finishing off, cool and calm, after a superb one-two build up with Kenneth Mugambi. If one was to take anything away from Palos FC’s performance in this encounter it definitely wasn’t going to come from this goal.
Gor Mahia were not at their known best in this encounter and Palos FC seemed to the better working side, but a quarter final qualification for the premier league side looked inevitable. Ofcourse there were momentary scares but they kept their command and once again double their lead in the 75th minute after Harun Shakava found in the box to poke in a low corner delivery by Ali Abondo.
On the opposite goal Onyango had to race off his line to intercept a long pass from the midfield just at the edge of his box and later tipped over a long range effort to deny Palos FC a third goal.
And the the treble hunt stays alive, come on you champions.