•Leopards’ dominated the first half of the 88th edition of the Mashemeji derby but a classic Gor returned with vigour in the second period to redeem themselves from a mid-week 1-0 loss to Mathare United.
•“We were not at our best in the first half but after our talk during half time, we managed to identify the problem and I am glad the boys reacted well. I am over the moon with my first win in the local Derby and credit to the players for their input,”
Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack revealed that half-time pep talks to the players paid dividends as the club recovered from a nervous start to thump their bitter rivals AFC Leopards 4-1 yesterday at the Moi Stadium Kasarani.
Leopards’ dominated the first half of the 88th edition of the Mashemeji derby but a classic Gor returned with vigour in the second period to redeem themselves from a mid-week 1-0 loss to Mathare United.
“We were not at our best in the first half but after our talk during half time, we managed to identify the problem and I am glad the boys reacted well. I am over the moon with my first win in the local Derby and credit to the players for their input,” said Polack.
Injuries forced Leopards coach Andre Mbungo to once again deploy Clyde Senaji, a natural midfielder at the heart of the defence, where he partnered with Soter Kayumba with Collins Sichenje providing cover.
Sichenje, a former Green Commandos’ player defied inexperience to pull strings in the midfield by thwarting Gor’s attempts to roam freely in the final third and played a massive role in his side’s build-up.
However, the youngster was stretchered off in the 29th minute with an injury and his place taken by national U-20 forward Austin Odhiambo.
Having bowed to Gor twice this year, Ingwe were determined not to take their foot off the gas pedal and caused all sorts of trouble to the nervous champions but could not hit the target. Rwandese import and field captain Kayumba watched his 27th-minute header hit the woodwork as marauding Ingwe gathered more steam in their bid to break the deadlock.
As Leopards searched for the opener, the K’ogalo backline worked overtime to contain the in-form duo of Mark Makwata and Hansel Ochieng who made ferocious runs in their half but we were met with equal force. The half time whistle came as a reprieve for the under-pressure champions who mustered a paltry two shots on target through Francis Afriyie and Bernard Ondiek in the entire half.
Leopards picked from where they left after the break but their quest to get the better of their opponents suffered a blow as Ivorian national Gislein Yikpe headed Kenneth Muguna’s free-kick in the 55th minute to silence the ‘Green Army’ petitioning for his substitution.
The towering forward, who had a first-half to forget was cautioned seconds later for his wild celebrations but he responded nine minutes later with the second goal plundering the ball past Benjamin Ochan to complete his brace.
There was a four-minute delay after rowdy Ingwe fans heavily demonstrated what appeared to be a penalty after Ondiek handled in the box but centre referee Yassin Badir dished a corner kick instead.
The call was met with an ugly reaction by the fans who threw objects to the pitch. It took the intervention of the trio of Whyvonne Isuza, Tresor Ndikumana and Kayumba to cool them.
Clifton Miheso added salt to his former employer wounds in the 79th-minute netting Gor’s third goal from range. However, Ndikumana pulled one back minutes later. Lawrence Juma compounded Leopards’ misery as he tapped in the fourth goal from Boniface Omondi’s cross.
Elsewhere, Sofapaka FC beat Wazito 2-1 at Narok stadium. Kephas Aswani opened the scoring in the 37th-minute but John Waithira equalised the matters after rounding off the defenders. Brian Nyakan restored their lead for Batoto Ba Mungu after a solo effort on the stroke of the halftime.
In Kericho Stadium, Zoo Kericho beat drub Nzoia Sugar 2-1.
The host notched the goals via Deric Anami (8th minute) and Dominic Ouma(40th) while the sugar men got a consolation goal through Dominic Ouma in the 81st minute