Despite markedly making a slow start to the 2018/19 campaign, champions Gor Mahia will be chasing their fourth consecutive win in the Kenyan Premier League when they lock horns with Sofapaka this weekend.
The nail-biting encounter, which will be among the first piece of action this weekend, will take place under the scorching heat of the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County.
Gor, for the umpteenth time in recent memory, emerged from the Mashemeji derby with all the bragging rights, as they slew AFC Leopards 2-0 last weekend. Although yet to get into their stride this season, K’Ogalo still headed into arguably the biggest football derby in East Africa as heavy favorites, given the atrocious run of form that Leopards have seemingly failed to ameliorate.
Hassan Oktay’s charges stayed true to their cause, as they broke the deadlock within the opening fifteen minutes through Kenneth Muguna. The sensational Francis Kahata found his midfield partner with a cross from the left flank, but Christopher Oruchum and Salim Abdallah managed to intercept the initial ball. The defensive duo were however not alive to the rebound; one on which Muguna pounced on before cleverly sending it through the legs of goalkeeper Eric Ndayishimiye.
The opening goal took the wind out of AFC’s sails, as the champions relentlessly kept chasing for the kill. That much sought after goal for the hosts would however come in the 64th minute through Francis Kahata. The 27-year old midfielder seemed to be targeting Haron Shakava with the free kick, but the leather sailed perfectly into the bottom right corner after the Gor Mahia skipper failed to connect with a header.
Well out of their own depth, Ingwe couldn’t even salvage a goal, as the KPL champions held on for yet another famous victory against their arch rivals. Even though Gor Mahia is fourth on the table with 22 points, Oktay’s boys have become strong favorites for the title after leaders Mathare United once again dropped vital points; considering that maximum points in their two games in hand would guide K’Ogalo to the helm of the Kenyan Premier League.
A fourth consecutive defeat for AFC Leopards on the other hand condemned the 13-time Kenyan Premier League champions to an abysmal 17th place on the log with just 10 points—a point below safety.
If Gor Mahia were impressive in a huge tie, then Sofapaka were simply sensational in theirs as well. John Baraza’s side matched to their fifth win on the spin, as they thrashed Mathare United 4-1 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Tuesday afternoon.
Elli Asieche launched the rout as early as the second minute when his effort from range caught Mathare goalkeeper Allan Owiny by surprise. Sofapaka’s game plan of starving Mathare of the ball worked to perfection, as the visitors doubled their advantage with an exquisitely struck free kick by Titus Achesa just moments after the half hour mark.
Umaru Kasumba joined the party three minutes before the interval, as the Ugandan pounced to the follow up ball to make it 3-0 after the Mathare shot stopper couldn’t hold onto John Avire’s stinging free kick.
Kevin Kimani brought one back midway through the second half in a bid to spark resurgence by the Slum Boys, but the goal only proved to be one that kept the score line respectable, as Kasumba scored his second of the day in stoppage time to round of Sofapaka’s assertive day at the office.
The emphatic victory elevated Batoto Ba Mungu to third on the log with 23 points from 13 games; slicing their margin with leaders Mathare to a paltry two points.
Sofapaka vs. Gor Mahia betting predictions
Sofapaka’s tactical change seems to be paying massive dividends, as the 2009 KPL champions have amassed five wins on the trot since summoning for the services of head coach John Baraza.
Although Gor have similarly been flying and firing in recent weeks, Batoto Ba Mungu are unequivocally the shaper side as it stands. However, invaluable experience and championship status will always give K’Ogalo a fighting chance on the domestic front.
Sofapaka vs. Gor Mahia recent results
Sofapaka 0-3 Gor Mahia (August 22, 2018)
Joachim Ochieng Oluoch 43’
Innocent Wafula 63’ (P)
Samuel Onyango 84’
Gor Mahia 3-3 Sofapaka (May 20, 2018)
Meddie Kagere 9’
Bernard Ondiek 32’
Innocent Wafula 90’
Kepha Aswani 51’
Ezekiel Okare 83’
Ezekiel Okare 88’
Gor Mahia 2-1 Sofapaka (September 27 2017)
George Odhiambo 6’
Meddie Kagere 64’
Umar Kasumba 43’
Sofapaka 2-0 Gor Mahia (June 18, 2017)
Timothy Luda 8’
Ezekiel Okare 50’
Gor Mahia 2-0 Sofapaka (May 25, 2016)
Khalid Aucho 5’
Musa Mohammed 35’
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