Three-time CECAFA champions Gor Mahia bowed out of the ongoing regional club tournament after falling 2-1 to Zambian military outfit Green Eagles at the quarterfinal stage.
The Wednesday evening fixture at Kigali’s Nyamirambo stadium marked the end of Gor’s quest to end a two and half-year duck for Kagame Cup diadem. K’Ogalo last tasted victory in the tournament in 1985 when talisman William Obwaka led a gallant side to a memorable victory in Khartoum, Sudan.
Against Green Eagles, striker Nicholas Kipkirui gave Gor Mahia a dream start when he scored with a lovely dink over the goalkeeper after intercepting a back pass from defender Boniface Sunzu.
However, the lead and joy was short lived as slack defending allowed Green Eagles to claw back with an equalizer barely six minutes later.
The tactical Zambian soldiers defended relentlessly and snared Gor Mahia deep in their half before launching terrific counter attacks. The Eagles’ crafty efforts worked for them with K’Ogalo playing into their hands. The long and high balls plan employed by Kenyan champions were aggressively thwarted Gor Mahia and the two teams went for the break tied.
Gor Mahia upped the ante upon resumption with Kipkirui hitting the target with a volley from acute angle but the Eagles custodian was well placed to gather.
Hassan Oktay replaced Samuel Onyango with new signing Dickson Ambundo ten minutes into second half and Gor Mahia’s fluidity and possession increased. Returns were minimal though and it was the Eagles who pounced again in the 68th minute.
A squared pass into the box from the right side of Gor’s defense picked on rushing Shadrack Mulungwe. The eagles striker managed to brush off Geoffrey Ochieng who was in pursuit then outwitted Hashim Sempala to create vast acres of space inside the box.
He had time to line up a hard short that flew into the net. Eagles then defended with all they had while attempting to hurt Gor further on counter attacks. Introductions of Tobias Otieno and Dennis Oalo for Lawrence Juma and Sempala respectively failed to yield much as the Zambian club held on for dear victory.