Why Gor ruled

Gor Mahia’s Boniface Omondi battles Zamalek’s Abdalla Saleh in Sunday’s match. /OLIVER MORGAN
Gor Mahia’s Boniface Omondi battles Zamalek’s Abdalla Saleh in Sunday’s match. /OLIVER MORGAN

Gor Mahia coach Hasan Oktay admitted to having plotted Zamalek’s fall in the opening match of the CAF Confederations from video analysis of their three-all draw match against fellow Egyptian side, Pyramids played a week ago.

Gor launched their bid to book a place in the quarterfinals of the tournament, edging out pre-match favourites Zamalek 4-2 yesterday at Moi Stadium, Kasarani—a result which Oktay says was in line with his expectations having watched their opponents play before.

Despite making a gamble in his selection, where he summoned largely his second string squad, Oktay defended his move and hailed his charges for delivering the first pool “D’

win, which gives them an upper hand in sealing the top two spots.

“I watched their match against Pyramids and two other teams and began preparing my boys tactically. I expected nothing short of a win having prepared the boys throughout the week. I can use any Gor Mahia player for any assignment and I congratulate the boys for their good job today.”

As part of the regulations of the tournament, Gor were forced to cover their shirt logo, which bored their sponsor's name SportPesa as the tournament enjoys sponsorship from another betting firm.

Having squandered the home advantage last season twice, Gor seemed to have learnt their mistake and pressed for early goals but the burly Egyptians were equal to the challenge thwarting all attempts by the home team. Zamalek’s left back Tarek Ahamed earned the first caution of the match as he elbowed Nicholas Kipkirui in the fourth minute as the former Zoo Kericho man sprinted his way to the box.

Barely six minutes into the game, Zamalek broke the deadlock after a miscommunication between Gor defenders and keeper Boniface Oluoch which Ibrahim Hassain capitalised on to tap in the opener.

Jacques Tuyisenge swiftly replied for the home side in the 25th minute riffling past Emad Abdelwahab after Francis Kahata had wittingly teed him with a well-executed pass.

The Rwandese forward would double the scores for Gor in the 38thinute after rising high to head in Boniface Omondi’s pinpoint cross amid cheers from the fans who had turned up in sizeable numbers to drum support for Gor.

Gor’s joy was, however, short-lived as Hassain pounced on a defence-splitting pass from Hamdi Naguez to restore parity for Zamalek in the 45th minute—a goal which saw fans demand an instant substitution for Oluoch whom they deemed to have let in cheap goals in the half.

Five minutes after the restart, unmarked Kipkirui threw Gor ahead, heading Tuyisenge’s cross past a hapless Abdelwahab to open his continental goal account on his debut.