Gor Mahia are officially the 2018 Kenya premier league champions. They did it in grand style, beating arch rivals AFC Leopards 2-0
Additional reporting from the Nation
K’Ogalo marched to their unprecedented 17th title with a convincing 2-0 win over arch-rivals AFC Leopards in a Saturday’s Mashemejii derby clash at Kasarani stadium to amass an unassailable 71 points with six matches to spare.
This becomes the third time Gor are sealing the title with matches to spare after doing so during the 2015 and 2017 campaigns, where they finished business with five games to the end of the season.
Boniface Omondi and Bernard Ondiek’s strikes in the 31st and 44th minutes gave the Kenyan giants a two-goal cushion at the break.
Whyvonne Isuza, returning after a two-match suspension, had a chance to reduce the deficit at the stroke of halftime but his spot kick after a handball by Charles Momanyi inside the penalty box curved high and wide with goalkeeper Peter Odhiambo sent the wrong side.
The game had been stopped for five minutes after rowdy Leopards fans hurled seats on the pitch side protesting a foul on Baker Lukooya that led to Gor’s second goal.
Samuel Onyango dispossessed Lukooya to put through Omondi who did well to set up Ondiek and the latter easily planted the ball with his right foot to the far corner, with Ezekiel Owade beaten in Leopards goal.
Ingwe had the first sniff on goal five minutes after referee Felix Ekai blew the opening whistle, but Brian Marita fired wide from an Alex Orotomal pass.
In the 27th minute, Edward Seda blocked Orotomal’s attempt at goal from an Isaac Oduro inch-perfect cross into the box after Wesley Onguso had deflected the Ghanaian’s free kick for the corner.
Four minutes later, speedy winger Omondi fired the hosts into the lead with a rasping shot from outside the box that Owade could only watch helplessly as it rolled into the bottom right corner.
Hungry for the equalizer, Leopards pushed on amidst a buzzing atmosphere from jubilant Gor fans but Oduro’s 36th minute free kick was cleared by Gor defence led by Charles Momanyi.
Leopards, missing seven players to injury, were a shadow of themselves in the final stanza as Gor walked out worthy winners for the 29th time in 89 meetings against their nemesis who’ve secured 28 wins previously.
Gor will wind up what has been a fantastic month of football albeit punctuated with congested fixtures, away to Algerian side USM Alger Wednesday next week in their final Caf Confederation Cup group “D” tie, while Ingwe, who last lost a match coincidentally to Gor on July 22, will revisit their drawing board to face Wazito in midweek.
“It’s a memorable feeling scoring in such a big game to win the title, we’ve had a good season thanks to our coaches and the quality in camp,” said match-hero Omondi, winning his second consecutive title since joining Gor from Nzoia Sugar June last year.
Ingwe coach Rodolfo Zapata congratulated Gor, whilst predicting a fruitful future.
“It’s bad for the supporters losing to rivals but they should be proud because we’ve a bright future, we fought till the end, tried different formations in vain,” said the Argentine.
Gor coach Dylan Kerr hailed his second-string side calling upon the first team to replicate the same on Wednesday.