Report from MozzartSports
An in-form Benson Omala helped record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia give the perfect response to tasting their very first defeat in the 2022/2023 Football Kenya Federation Premier League campaign as the youngster struck twice to steer K'Ogalo to a vital 0-2 victory against Posta Rangers on Sunday afternoon.
In the match played at Thika Stadium, the prodigious talent once again rose to the occasion when his side needed him the most as he bagged the two goals in the second half to return his side back to winning ways as he went to the top of the scoring charts with six goals.
The victory ensured Posta Rangers impressive three match unbeaten streak (W3 D1) came to a crushing halt as K'Ogalo recorded their first win kn the New Year 2023.
"It was a game of two halves overally. In the first half Posta Rangers dominated but after our second half changes we pressed from the front which ensured Posta couldn't play the long direct balls. From that, our confidence grew and they couldn't cope," Johnathan McKinstry, Gor head coach said.
"We should have done better in the final third with our chances in the second half. We managed to get to their defensive line on numerous occasions especially in the first half but our decision making was poor. That's an area we need to work on moving foward," Posta head coach John Kamau noted.
Having recorded three consecutive wins in their last three league matches, the mailmen started the game in semblance to their form as they dominated the early proceedings in the match against a side that were reeling from their first defeat of the season the last time they played
Eight minutes in, the John Kamau coached side almost surged ahead when a Michael Apudo cross into the area left Gor custodian Gad Mathew in sixes and sevens as he failed to make a decision as whether to punch the ball or save it.
The keeper's blushes were saved when his late decision to poorly parry the ball back into the danger area went unpunished as the mailmen lacked the cutting edge.
Gor Mahia's slow start was arrested minutes later when the club's vociferous fans rolled into the grounds and blared tunes which appeared to have a spiritual connection with the players who were uplifted almost instantly.
In the 15th minute, the record Kenyan champions created the best chance of the first half when they worked their way to the Posta box with the ball.
The mailmen however managed to put a timely intervention to Sydney Wahongo's goal bound strike.
In the closing stages of the first half, Posta Rangers almost delivered a lethal suckerpunch through Caleb Olilo who twice breached the K'Ogalo defense but was just let down by poor execution with his final shot on both occassions, the deadlock remaining intact at half-time.
At the start of the second half, Gor brought on Lloyd Khavuchi and Boniface Omondi in olace of George 'Blackberry' Odhiambo and John Macharia in a bid to find the missing spark in the final third.
The attacking changes saw the 19 time Kenyan champions start on the front foor and seven minutes into the half defender Dennis Ng'ang'a fashioned a shot target with a free kick just outside the area but the attempt just lacked enough firepower.
K'Ogalo continued ranking up the volume in the second half ad created two more chances that could have ended up in the back of the net with a little bit of precision.
On the 61st minute, the second half tactic paid off when an in form Benson Omala pulled behind the Posta defenders before finishing a cross ar the back post for his fifth goal in six matches that gave his side a deserved second half lead.
After going behind, Posta threw bodies foward in search of an equalizer but all their blunt forays ended up haunting them as Omala exploited the massive space they left behind when Austin Odhiambo set him up one on one against goalkeeper John Njau with an exquisite through pass.
Unfazed by the pressure, Omala coolly slotted the ball beneath the onrushing Njau to double Gor Mahia's lead in the 81st minute, a strike that eased the pressure as K'Ogalo sealed the three points.
1. John Njau 2. Elvis Osok 3. Michael Apudo 4. Pamba Swaleh 5. Kennedy Odhiambo 6. Bernard Ondiek 7. Briaj Marita 8. Brian Musa 9. Bria Otieno 10. Chruspinus Onyango 11. Caleb Olilo
1. Gad Mathew 2. Paul Ochuoga 3. Geoffrey Ochieng' 4. Joshua Onyango 5. Dennis Ng'ang'a 6. Ernest Wendo 7. John Macharia 8. Sydney Wahongo 9. Benson Omala 10. Austin Odhiambo 11. George 'Blackberry' Odhiambo