Kenyan champions Gor Mahia started their quest for regional diadem on a winning note after edging out Congolese outfit AS Maniema 2-1 CECAFA Club Championships Group C tie staged in Rubavu, Rwanda on Monday evening.
Right back Wellington Ochieng put K’Ogalo ahead with the game’s first shot on target after 22 minutes. Granted time and space 22 yards from opposing goal Ochieng let fly a rasping low shot that breached AS Maniema goalkeeper Jean Mac Bukasa.
The goal sparked life into an erstwhile drab affair as the guest team came out fighting. They troubled K’Ogalo defense in ensuing minutes and registered three shots on target, the third forcing Boniface Oluoch into an an excellent and instinctive reaction to keep out.
On the opposite end, Nicholas Kipkirui flanked by Samuel Onyango and Boniface Omondi managed to carve two great chances but Kipkirui fluffed the best one as K’Ogalo went for the breather one goal ahead despite AS Maniema finishing strongly.
Having finished the opening half on their back foot, Gor Mahia strengthened their grip on the game by scoring a second just two minutes into the second half. Boniface Omondi timed hs run well to beat Maniema offside trap and superbly gathered an infield pass from Geoffrey Ochieng before lifting the ball over an onrushing Bukasa for Gor’s second goal.
New signings Dickson Ambundo and Dennis Oalo got some play time after respectively replacing Samuel Onyango and Boniface Omondi in the 60th and 65th minutes while Tobias Otieno who started his first match for Gor Mahia since signing from Sony Sugar made way for Ernest Wendo in the 82nd minute.
Wendos’ introduction shored up Gor Mahia back line after AS Maniema had pulled one back from the spot. K’ogalo withstood the frantic final moments to win their first group match and stay in good stead for progress into the knockout stage.
Gor Mahia are second in the group behind Ports of Djibouti who beat KMKM of Zanzibar 2-0.