Gor Mahia on Wednesday put aside issues concerning player departures to trounce Zoo Kericho 4-0 at Kericho Green stadium.
Additional reporting from the Nation
Dennis Oliech struck twice as champions Gor Mahia hit Zoo Kericho 4-0 at the Kericho Green Stadium on Wednesday to keep their dream of retaining the SportPesa Premier League for a third straight year on course.
Kenneth Muguna broke the deadlock on 18 minutes before Oliech grabbed his first and Gor’s second two minutes later. Substitute Nicholas Kipkirui then stretched K’Ogalo’s lead on 79 minutes before Oliech completed his brace eight minutes from time.
Oliech and Zoo’s Danson Chetambe missed penalties during the match.
The win saw Gor move to second on 35 points, while Zoo are 17th on 16 points.
Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay said he was impressed by his side for not conceding.
“I am very happy because we won with a clean sheet, that is not easy because all teams give their best when playing against Gor Mahia,” said Oktay.
His counterpart Sammy Okoth admitted his side did not do enough in the match.
“We never played as we expected, we failed to create chances while our opponents created theirs and scored,” said Okoth.
Gor could have had a perfect start when Dennis Kawanga almost scored in his own net in the second minute after he fumbled while attempting to clear George “Blackberry” Odhiambo’s cross from the right wing.
Moments later, Gor goalkeeper Shaban Odhoji was forced to leave his line early to gather the ball inside his area, as Zoo looked to record their first ever win against the Kenyan giants.
Ekisa Ssekisambu missed a chance to fire the champions ahead in the seventh minute when his shot from inside the box blazed over the crossbar, before Muguna broke the deadlock with a stunning free-kick from outside the area.
Oliech then stretched the visitor’s lead two minutes later when he connected to Muguna’s pass to beat Zoo’s goalkeeper Martin Elungat with a low shot.
The hosts came close to reducing the deficit but Kepher Ondati’s header from a corner-kick delivery was cleared, before Newton Ondari’s shot from the rebound a few moments later from outside the box went wide.
Danson Chetambe failed to beat Odhoji from the spot after Samuel Onyango handled the ball inside the box. Odhoji parried the latter’s heavy shot to the disappointment of the home supporters.
Gor would have killed the game deep in the first half but Odhiambo failed to convert from a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Elungat.
Ssekambu was not lucky again as Elungat parried his shot 10 minutes after the restart, the goalkeeper recovering in time to clear the danger as players from both side scrambled for the ball inside his area.
Oliech would have extended Gor’s advantage from the spot at the hour mark, but he blazed over the bar. Kawanga was the guilty green shirt as he fouled Ssekisambu inside the box.
Coach Oktay introduced former Zoo Kericho man Kipkirui five minutes later, the home fans cheering him on as he made his way into the pitch to replace Odhiambo.
And the forward made his former side feel his impact two minutes later after being fed by Oliech, evaded a green shirt inside the box to send a low shot which Elungat dealt with easily.
Kipkirui would then do what the home fans hoped he wouldn’t. Score. The 22-year-old found space inside Zoo’s half, raced to beat Elungat to the ball before scoring in an empty net. The striker didn’t celebrate.
And even before the dust settled, Oliech made amends for his penalty miss, as he connected on to cross from the left wing to beat Elungat with another low strike.
Kipkirui would have also scored a brace but Elungat denied him three minutes to time.