Gor Mahioa returned to local action on Friday at Bukhungu stadium. Playing against Kakamega Homeboyz, the game ended 1-1. Nicholas Kipkirui scored for Gor Mahia while Allan Wanga replied late in the game for Homeboyz.
Additional reporting from the Nation
An injury time equaliser from Kakamega Homeboyz striker Allan Wanga denied Gor Mahia maximum points as the sides settled for a 1-1 draw in a tough SportPesa Premier League match at Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega on Friday.
K’Ogalo had taken a deserved lead via forward Nicholas Kipkurui after he headed into the net a cross from Samuel Onyango in the 41st minute.
The draw was enough to take Gor back on top of the table courtesy of a superior goal difference. Gor, Sofapaka and Bandari are all on 45 points.
The better part of the encounter was marked by missed scoring chances from both sides, as attackers hunted for the opening goal.
Homeboyz, however, wasted two clear chances of scoring after referee Israel Mpaima awarded them two indirect kicks from Ahmed Bai and Luke Namanda in the 6th and 11th minutes respectively.
The defending champions made a quick counter attack when Jacques Tuyisenge put through Lawrence Juma, but his shot was parried over the cross bar by hawkeyed Homeboyz custodian David Juma.
In a bid to contain rough play, whistler Mpaima cautioned Gor Mahia’s new signing Hashim Sempala after a rough tackle on midfielder Moses Chikati in the 22nd minute.
Efforts by the hosts’ attackers Namanda, Wanga to score were time and again frustrated by the Gor defence that was marshalled by Joachim Olouch.
As the match headed to half time, Samuel Onyango made a right wing cross, which Kipkurui headed into the net past helpless goal keeper Juma for the opening goal in the 41st minute.
After half time, Gor stepped up their game but Tuyisenge and Kipkurui time and again missed golden scoring opportunities following well calculated crosses from Boniface Omondi and Samuel Onyango.
Both coaches made substitutions as the game headed towards its conclusion.
Gor’s Hassan Oktay replaced the injured duo of Charles Momanyi and Kipkurui with Joash Onyango and Dennis Oliech respectively in the 60th minute.
Homeboyz tactician Nicholas Muyoti pulled out Festo Omukoto and Luke Namanda for Peter Thiongo and Ravel Maxwell respectively.
Refereee Mpaima was forced to stop the match for a while to seek audience with Oktay for constantly interfering with the work of the first linesman Arnold Kimutai.
As the match entered added time, Wanga soared high in the box to pull an equaliser following a pass from Thiongo.
Oktay said his charges played well but were punished for not converting their chances.
“We were dominant throughout the match. I am taking every match as a final encounter, as I seek to defend the title successfully,” he said.
Homeboyz tactician Nicholas Muyoti said they would have won the match had the referee handed them a penalty after Geoffrey Ochieng handled the ball.
“I am , however, delighted with the late equaliser from my top scorer Wanga,” he noted.