Gor Mahia put on a brave fight against an English Premier League side Everton. And it was an Everton side that deployed 8 full internationals including England Captain Wayne Rooney. A side that is coached by Dutch legend Ronald Koeman and his twin brother Erwin.
Gor Mahia were certainly not overawed and knocked the ball around confidently even in their own 18 yard box and under pressure. Kogalo’s fitness was also showing as they pressed the Toffee players given them little space.
28 minutes into the game, Kogalo almost scored when Kagere met a Walusimbi cross which had been deflected into his path. He turned quickly but his goal-bound shot was blocked by a defender.
Wayne Rooney gave Everton a lead with a scorcher in the 35th minute after being given acres of space to shoot. It was a similar goal to the one that launched Rooney into fame as a 17 year old many years ago.
Soon after the goal, Gor Mahia earned a corner kick when Nizigiyimana made a darting run on the right flank, forcing an Everton player to concede a corner. Jacque Tuyisenge scored the equalizer soon thereafter when he powerfully headed in a corner kick at the near post and from an acute angle.
The header was similar to the one Peter Dawo scored against Esperance in 1987. Gor Mahia had only two players in the box. Tuyisenge ran towards the near post. The corner kick was placed right in his path by Muguna. He rose and headed it skilfully from a difficult angle. It appeared well rehearsed as was the case in 1987.
Gor Mahia gained confidence after that goal and made numerous forays particularly down the right flank. In the 41st minute, Muguna put Tuyisenge through. The latter deftly lost his marker and unleashed a grass-cutter which was saved by the Everton goalkeeper.
Gor Mahia gave a very good account of themselves in the each half. The defensive line was composed and organized as their offside traps worked to perfection. Boniface Oluoch showed a lot of confidence in handling back passes under pressure.
As the second half started, Tom Davies intercepted a pass intended for Nizigiyimana and raced towards the goal. But a timely tackle from Nizigiyimana cleared the ball for a corner. . A minute later, the lively Tuyisenge hussled to contest a backpass to the goalkeeper. He blocked the keeper’s clearance but the keeper was able to collect the resulting high ball.
Philemon Otieno had the next scoring chance when he picked up a cleared corner kick on the edge of the box. But his shot was easily handled by the goalkeeper.
In the 55th minute Gor Mahia worked their way down the right flank. Muguna’s cross was met by Tuyisenge. But under pressure from two defenders, he blasted wide. Everton had the ball in the net in the 64th minute but at least two of their players were in an offside position. A minute later, Everton were charging forward again and Dominic intercepted yet another pass and charged towards goal. But his shot was well saved by substitute goalkeeper Odhiambo.
Odhiambo was forced into yet another save this time an effort by Idrissa Gueye following another interception. In the 79th minute, Mugiraneza conceded an indirect freekick. The ball was played to Kieran Dowell who smashed his shot against the cross bar.
Everton were finally rewarded for their effort in the 81st minute. They scored the second goal in the 85th minute via Kieran Dowell who unleashed a long range shot.
In injury time, late substitute Oliver Maloba danced his way into the Everton danger area but ran out of options as there was no one to cross to. Seconds later, Mbugua was gifted with a good shooting opportunity but his effort went directly to goalkeeper Stekelenburg.
All things considered, Gor Mahia gave a good account of themselves especially in the first 60 minutes. The multiple substitutions took them off their rhythm.
Starting XI: Maarten Stekelenburg, Ashley Williams, Phil Jagielka, Callum Conolly, Jonoe Kenny, while Morgan Schneiderlin, James McCarthy, Aaron Lennon, Ademola Lookman, Davy Klassen, Wayne Rooney.
Subs: Mateusz Hewelt, Leighton Baines, Michael Keane, Tom Davis, Kevin Mirallas, Mathew Pennington, Calvert-Lewin, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Gareth Barry, Muhamed Besic, Kieran Dowell