By Steve Ayoo (@Steifmaster88)
The winner of the 2018 Kenyan Premier League golden boot will be decided on the final day after Gor Mahia’s Jacques Tuyisenge scored in the 4-1 defeat of Zoo Kericho at the Machakos Stadium to tie Eric Kapaito and Elvis Rupia on 15 goals.
Gor hosted Zoo in a near-empty stadium for their round 33 catch up match with the already-crowned champions looking to not only arrest a run of five matches without a win but also try put Tuyisenge on pole for the golden boot.
Indeed, the Rwandese was handed the full 90 minutes despite struggling to add onto his goal which came after 35 minutes of play.
Wycliffe Onguso’s grass cutter with his preferred left foot gave Kogalo a 17th minute lead but Mike Madoya – who is on 14 goals – drew his side level against the run of play three minutes after the half hour mark as he headed home an inch perfect cross from Bernard Odhiambo who had chased down a ball which Nicholas Kipkirui lobbed past Shaban Odhoji.
The two goals were netted either side of a disallowed goal from Bernard Ondiek who was adjudged offside, his reaction and that from Kogalo bench showing fully what they thought of the decision as the ball seemed to come off a Zoo body.
Tuyisenge restored Gor’s lead two minutes after Madoya’s goal as he side-footed home a pass from Francis Mustafa who got the beating of the Zoo defence then made the unselfish decision of feeding his fellow marksman.
Zoo, who secured safety by beating Thika United last weekend, put forward a starting XI that surprisingly had central midfielder Danson Chetambe and fullback Isaac Kipyegon on the bench, and the struggles could be seen especially in the positions that the duo occupy.
They fell further behind at the 39th minutes as Wellington Ochieng won a freekick near the byline on the right then rose to head home a fine delivery from Francis Kahata and make it 3-1.
Zoo almost pulled another one back at the stroke of half time but Madoya’s shot from a defence-splitting Odhiambo pass was blocked just in time by Joachim Oluoch.
Kipyegon and Chetambe were introduced into the action after the restart as Gor were also forced to make a change, Samuel Onyango coming on for an injured Cercidy Okeyo who didn’t finish the final seconds of the opening half and never reemerged.
Before Zoo’s substitutes could make their mark, they were picking the ball from behind the net for a fourth time as Ondiek sunk a vicious volley into the roof of the net after an inviting cross from Tuyisenge just three minutes after the resumption.
Kipyegon, who settled at left back, looked like he was struggling with an injury but Chatambe brought immediate improvement in Zoo’s midfield as they retained the ball better and had the Kogalo backline more regularly employed.
Gor continued to threaten with substitutes Kevin Omondi and Onyango both coming close.
Zoo continued huffing and puffing, but didn’t trouble Odhoji much until the 83rd minute when Madoya won a penalty after being clipped in the box but he fluffed, aiming too high to his right and missing the chance to halve the deficit and join Tuyisenge and co on 15 goals.
Victory here for Gor Mahia only carries the significance of ending a run of five games without a win in all competitions while for Zoo, it’s just another blip in what has been another season of picking up positives amid financial struggles.
The duo complete their 2018 campaign this Sunday with Gor playing Tusker while Zoo will host Sofapaka at the Green Stadium