The mashemeji derby , 2017 KPL second leg edition ended in a 1-1 draw. Leopards were on the mark first when Musa Mohamed scored an own goal. Meddie Kagere, scored the equalizer in the 35th minute.
Additional reporting from the Standard
Kenya’s two most decorated football clubs share spoils in derby riddled with blunders.
Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards shared the spoils in a thrilling 1-1 draw characterised by defensive errors at Nyayo Stadium.
Despite the draw, Gor are still six points clear (44 points) at the top of the Kenyan Premier League after their title rivals Sofapaka and Posta Rangers also ended in a 1-1 draw in Narok on Saturday.
Defensive blunders from both sides saw two goals scored in a span of 15 minutes. First it was Gor captain Musa Mohamed, who scored into his own net in the 22nd minute before Meddie Kagere capitalised on Musa Mudde’s poor defending to equalise.
The result left AFC coach Robert Matano an excited man, insisting that his 13th placed side (24 points) can secure a top 10 finish.
“We are improving game by game and players are pushing themselves. We needed the three points, but lack of concentration gifted them a goal. Gor are currently in top form and getting a point against them is encouraging. With this performance, top 10 finish is still realistic for us. I am proud of my boys’ performance,” said Matano.
But for Dylan Kerr, it was a frustrating evening for the 15-time champions as the league leaders were a shadow of their former self.
“Credit to AFC Leopards. They battled hard and frustrated us. They indeed came into the party, though I feel disappointed to have let our fans down. But for AFC, it is a good result for them as their fans went home happy,” said Kerr.
Both teams started the match cautiously in a game that was very tactical.
However, it is Gor who progressively took control of the play, pushing the visitors in defence but unfortunately failed to break the deadlock.
Leopards earned a free kick in the 17th minute but Robinson Kamura’s attempt was blocked by Gor Mahia’s wall before Godfrey Walusimbi’s free kick deflected off Mudde for a fruitless corner.
AFC Leopards drew first blood in the 22nd minute when Mohammed deflected Samuel Ndung’u’s dangerous cross from the left into his own net.
Vincent Oburu could have doubled the lead five minutes later but he fluffed his shot before Philemon Otieno’s long range effort was easily gathered by AFC goalkeeper Gabriel Andika.
Gor had an equalising chance on the half hour mark, but Kagere dragged his attempt off target before Jacques Tuyisenge failed to connect George Odhiambo’s cross from the left.
Moments later, Oburu latched on a miss pass in Gor’s half but his shot did not trouble well-positioned goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch.
With nine minutes to halftime, defensive blunder from Mudde allowed Kagere to draw Gor level, beating Andika with a quick shot.
George Odhiambo then wastefully shot wide in the box as Gor continued piling pressure on the Leopards backline
Andika then pulled off a fine save from Kenneth Muguna on the stroke of halftime to ensure the match went into the break tied 1-1.
Just after restart Raymond Omondi beat Gor’s offside trap but his cross was cleared by Mohamed before Alexis Kitenge paved the way for Wyvonne Isuza on AFC side.
Odhiambo would play neat one-two passes with Kagere but the Kenyan international was fouled after handling the ball.
Oluoch made two fantastic saves in succession on the hour mark, stopping Kamura’s dangerous free kick before denying Oburu on a one-on-one situation.
Substitute Boniface Omondi won a free kick for Gor in the 62nd minute, but Walusimbi ballooned his shot over the bar before Oluoch came off his line to punch away Oburu’s cross in the box.
In the 81st minute, Kagere squandered a precious scoring opportunity as he feebly tapped the ball from Karim Nizigiyimana’s delivery into keeper’s hands before Tuyisenge’s header missed the target by inches.
Dennis Sikhayi would make a brilliant tackle, rushing Tuyisenge late in the game before he ran forward to force a superb clearance from Mohamed as both defenders held their nerves to settle for stalemate.