Sunday, April 7, 4:00p.m Local time – Moi International Sports Centre, Nairobi County, Kenya
Gor Mahia’s pursuit of a first continental title will once again be tested this weekend when they lock horns with RS Berkane in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Kenyan Premier League champions will play host to the Moroccan side on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the secondary cup competition on the African continent; with the 4pm encounter penciled to take place at the Kasarani stadium.
K’Ogalo warmed up for the encounter by grinding out a 3-2 win over ‘cousins’ Sony Sugar in a hotly contested midweek Premier League encounter. Unconventionally playing as the home side at Gor Mahia’s stronghold in Kisumu, Sony stunned the champions by grabbing the lead in the 22nd minute through Enock Agwanda.
The former Mayienga hero punished his old employers by guiding a low flying, long range drive from the right wing; one that found its way to the far post for the opener. The celebrations however didn’t last for long, as the fiery hot Jacques Tuyisenge restored parity just three minutes later.
Receiving Erick Ombija’s shot pass from the left side of the box, the Rwandan sensation found the back of the net at the first time of asking thanks to his lethal left-footed strike from inside the area.
Determined not to go down without a fight, the Sugar Millers reinstated their lead for the second time in the game through Joshua Nyatiny’s audacious long range effort in the 27th minute.
With goalkeeper Shaban Odhoji already beaten twice, K’Ogalo simply had to up the ante in the ensuing minutes, not just to keep their bid for a sixth league title in seven years alive, but to also set up the perfect momentum ahead of Sunday’s continental showdown.
Tuyisenge’s impressive work rate saw the 27-year old wriggle his way past two Sony players before releasing the ball to an unmarked Samuel Onyango who slotted the leather home with perturbing ease, eight minutes before the interval.
Clawing themselves back into the contest before the break played an intricate role in securing all three points, as Hassan Oktay’s regrouped charges brought the fight to Sony in the second half.
Nicholas Kipkirui was the man to settle the contest, as the second half substitute converted from the spot to propel Gor to a 3-2 win; albeit after a heated exchange from both sides due to the controversial nature of the handball that prompted the referee to point to the spot.
Despite having a congested fixture list that has seen them force KPL matches in between continental games, a sixth successive victory on the domestic front has enabled the 17-time KPL champions to impose themselves back at the very helm of Kenyan football; establishing a dominant eight point lead over second placed Sofapaka having now played all their matches in hand. Defeat however leaves Sony Sugar eight on 28 points—16 points behind leaders Gor.
RS Berkane prepared for their trip to Nairobi by registering a one-all draw with Olympique Khouribga in the Moroccan Championship Botola. Playing at the Stade Municipal de Berkane, the visitors broke the deadlock in the 27th minute through a Yao Wilfred Kouassi strike, but Mounir Jaouani’s side drew level in the 41st minute through a penalty scored by Kodjo Laba.
With the score remaining goalless in the second half, RS Berkane retained their place in ninth; a point above Olympique Khouribga and a staggering 24 points adrift of leaders and probable champions Wydad Athletic Club.
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Gor Mahia vs. RS Berkane match result predictions
Gor Mahia advanced into the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederation Cup for the very first time in their illustrious history following their 1-0 win over Petro de Luanda in the final match to finish second in Group D, although the Kenyans have Zamalek to thank for drawing with NA Hussein Dey in the other match that could have potentially altered the slope of the group.
RS Berkane on the other hand lost 1-0 to Hassania Agadir in their final outing of the Group A, but the defeat wasn’t damaging as the Oranges still went on to advance into the quarterfinals on their debut season in the competition.
Victory for the Kenyan champions in their final game of the group however wasn’t without a cost, as head coach Hassan Oktay, skipper Harun Shakava, striker Jacques Tuyisenge, defender Shafik Batambuze, and midfielder Ernest Wendo all received suspensions from the continental football governing body, CAF, following their protests against the referee during their 1-0 win over Angolan side Petro de Luanda.
Despite the notable absentees, K’Ogalo can take confidence from the fact that they triumphed in all three home games on their way to booking a place in the last eight of the competition.
Prediction: Gor to win on Betin kenya
Gor Mahia and RS Berkane recent results
– Gor Mahia1-0 Petro de Luanda(March 17, 2019)
– Zamalek 4-0 Gor Mahia (March 10, 2019)
– NA Hussein Dey1-0 Gor Mahia (March 3, 2019)
– Hassania Agadir 1-0 RS Berkane(March 17, 2019)
– RS Berkane 3-0 Otohod’Oyo(March 10, 2019)
– RS Berkane 0-0 Raja Casablanca (March 3, 2019)
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