Gor Mahia topscorer Michael Olunga netted a brace, set up another and rattled the crossbar as he led his side to a 3-1 defeat of Zanzibar side KMKM in their second Kagame Cup Group A match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Monday.
The lanky forward set up Meddie Kagere’s opening goal for the Kenyan champions before netting a brace in second half to guide his team to a second straight win, having beaten Tanzania’s Yanga SC 2-1 in their opening match last Saturday.
Quick off the blocks
Gor Mahia made a dream start to the game with Kagere slotting home an Olunga pass with just two minutes on the clock. The goal rattled KMKM but they regrouped fast and poured forward for an equalizer.
KMKM forward Antony Mateo Saimon was proving to be their main threat and he came close to getting the equalizer in the 9th minute but his effort hit the side netting.
However, Gor Mahia failed to interpret the warning signs and were hit with a sucker punch just two minutes later when an unmarked Saimon headed a corner ball past Boniface Oluoch to draw his team level just two minutes later.
Thereafter, the two teams embarked on a more cagey approach with little chances created. Kogalo midfielder Khalid Aucho was given a yellow card in the 32nd minute when he fouled Nassor Ali Omar just outside the 18-yard box but the resulting free kick failed to trouble Oluoch.
Captain Musa Mohammed was the second to get in the referee’s book just 5 minutes later after another foul on Ali Omar as the Kenyan champions struggled to keep up with the speed and silky passing of their opponents.
Oluoch was forced to a smart save just three minutes to the interval to ensure the his side went into the breather 1-1 draw.
Gor Mahia resumed from the half time break on fire and almost scored again from the restart but KMKM keeper Salum Ali pulled a triple save to deny Olunga, Kagere and Haroun Shakava, one after another.
Coach Frank Nuttall pulled off the ineffective Ronald Omino for Erick Ochieng, while Godfrey Walusimbi followed suit with Enock Agwanda making his entrance.
The double substitution had the Islanders panting to keep with the Gor Mahia who looked reenergized.
Olunga restores lead
With the duo on the pitch, Gor Mahia regained their lead, Olunga leaping above all to head in a Karim Nizigiyimana cross in the 68th minute to make it 2-1. The lanky forward would have doubled his goal tally almost immediately but his effort rattled the bar with KMKM keeper beaten.
Olunga wouldn’t be denied his second goal though which he found in the 75th minute from an Agwanda throwing, his third goal in two matches. The win sent the back-to-back Kenya Premier League champions and current league leaders to the quarterfinals and a step closer to winning the Kagame cup title for the first time in 30 years.
Earlier on, Teddy Akumu’s Sudanese side Al-Khartoum thrashed Djibouti Telecom 5-0 thanks to a brace from Osman Bilal as well as goals from Ousmaila Baba, Murwan Abdallah and Wagdi Abdalla.
Gor Mahia Starting XI: Boniface Oluoch, Musa Mohammed, Abouba Sibomana, Karim Nizigiyimana, Harun Shakava, Khalid Aucho, Godfrey Walusimbi, Ali Abondo, Ronald Omino, Meddie Kagere, Michael Olunga
KMKM Starting XI: Nassor, Khamis, Chomba, Pandu, Idrissa, Alhuman, Saimon, Mbwana, Mwalim, Ibrahim, Ali Omar
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