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WHY GOR HAVE UPHILL TASK

K’Ogalo family still believe they can advance to the group stages

In Summary

•Despite the loss, the club’s Ghanaian striker Francis Afriyie reckons that all is not lost as early goals will unsettle Alger

•Kipkirui is the sole striker cleared to play  continental matches

Gor Mahia's scorer for the consolation Kenneth Muguna
Gor Mahia's scorer for the consolation Kenneth Muguna
Image: FILE

Gor Mahia will be forced to score early goals during their Caf Champions League first-round return leg match against USM Alger to keep their dream of progressing to the group stages alive.

Gor suffered a blistering 4-1 defeat in Algiers on Sunday in the first leg and will be seeking a 3-0 win when they host the visitors the return leg in two weeks time at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani.

The Kenyan representatives in the lucrative continental tournament have been counselled to capitalise on home comfort and go for early goals to edge the North Africans who denied them the opportunity to grace the quarter-finals of the Confederations Cup last year. Gor lost 2-1 to the Algerians in the final group stage match and had played to a barren draw in Nairobi.

K’Ogalo who had their consolation goal through their skipper Kenneth Muguna were undone by braces from Mohammed Meftah and Zakaria Benchaa who condemned coach Steven Polack to his first defeat since taking over the reins from Hassan Oktay.

Despite the loss, the club’s Ghanaian striker Francis Afriyie reckons that all is not lost as early goals will unsettle Alger and bar them from reverting to their time wasting antics. Afriyie did not travel to Algeria, thanks to late registration.

“It’s not a massive deficit as many are describing it. We need three unanswered goals and we will be through. They enjoyed home advantage and it will be our turn to host them. We have to score early at least two goals in the first half then press higher in the second half. If we score early, we will unsettle them and they will find it hard to defend or waste time.”

The player, who plied his trade with Mexico-based Murcielagos, was shipped in alongside Ivorian Gislein Yikpe with an aim of replacing Jacques Tuyisenge and the former Berchem Chelsea man has full faith in Nicholas Kipkirui to put the Algerian side to the sword.

Kipkirui is the sole striker cleared to play  continental matches but the duo is set to be ready when the competition meanders to the group stages.

“He is a lethal forward and I trust that he will get the job done. He did well in the past round and was on target in our first league match. He is the kind of a striker who works hard and doesn’t flap scoring chances.”

Meanwhile, Afriyie is looking to make his Kenyan Premier League debut when Gor play Chemelil Sugar on Thursday at the Moi Stadium Kisumu. The match was initially planned for last weekend but was shelved to pave way for the continental duel. Afriyie made his debut in Gor colours in the KPL Super Cup against Bandari last month where he was pulled off with a harm string in the first half.

“I have fully recovered and I am hoping to make my legs debut on Thursday. Unlike my teammates, I have had enough rest and I hope to hit the ground running with a goal or two.”