Gor Mahia and DC Motema Pembe settled for a 1-1 draw in the CAF Confederations cup playoff at Kasarani on Sunday. Charles Momanyi was sent off for blocking a goalbound shot with his hands. The resulting penalty was saved by Mapigano.
Additional reporting from the Nation
Ivorian Yikpe Gieslien Sunday scored his first goal for Gor Mahia with his first touch, but this wasn’t enough for the hosts who settled for a 1-1 draw with visiting Daring Club (DC) Motema Pembe in a Caf Confederation Cup play-off first leg match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
This result leaves both teams with all to play for ahead of the second leg in Kinshasa next Sunday.
The Kenyan champions will have to score to stand a chance of progressing to the money-spinning group stage of this continental tournament.
“Does this (result) make our life difficult? Maybe. But I have seen enough today to believe we can do something over there (in Kinshasa) and progress,” opined Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack at full time.
William Likuta turned home the precious goal for the 27-time Congolese champions and the visitors missed a penalty late on as a rusty Gor Mahia hang on after Charles Momanyi had been sent off.
“We will win in Kinshasa. I am very sure of that because nobody wins there,” boasted Likuta.
Kick-off was delayed for about 15 minutes as Tanzanian Khalid Abdalla, serving as the match commissioner, insisted Gor keeper David Mapigano should change his jersey as it colour clashed with the opponent’s outfield attire.
Fast forward into the proceedings and the home team masterminded the first attack of the match after five minutes.
Boniface Omondi found some space down the left and delivered a cross which was connected towards the opponents goal by Lawrence Juma.
The latter’s effort was however easily saved by visiting keeper Barel Mouko.
Muoko was called upon three minutes later to gather an inviting cross from Dickson Ambundo as the hosts main striker Nicholas Kipkurui lurked at the near post.
Then Motema Pembe were called into an early substitution as midfielder Ngimbi Mapangu was stretched off after coming worse in a challenge involving Kenyan defender Joash Onyango, and was replaced by Inonga Baka.
Thereafter, it was the turn of the off-colour Kipkurui to miss the next chance of the game. The attacker fluffed a clear opportunity by electing to square the ball to captain Kenneth Muguna while he should perhaps have had a go at Muoko.
Vinny Kombe was the most enterprising player in the visiting team, and most dangerous as well. The forward created the best chance for his side by beating his marker and squaring the ball to Ikoyo Iyembe whose cracking shot came off Mapigano’s post.
Kipkurui and Ambundo again combined to miss a one-on-one chance at halftime as both teams headed into the dressing room without a goal.
The tale of missed chances continued 15 minutes into the second half with Kipkurui and Omondi the main culprits.
This might have played in Polack’s decision to bring on Ivorian forward Yikpe for Omondi on 62 minutes.
Barely three minutes later, and the substitute scored with his first touch. He was fed through by Juma after a marauding run and powered home a shot which slipped past Mouko’s grip.
But the hosts joy was short-lived. Likuta reacted quickest to tap home into an empty net a loose ball after Mapigano had parried Junior Kone’s free kick.
Then came the drama.
Charles Momanyi handled in the box and was shown red by match referee Lofti Bekoussa who also awarded a penalty. But then in a twist of events Mapigano made a heroic save to deny Vinny Bongonga from the spot.