Gor Mahia extended their lead at the top of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) standings to five points; this after securing a hard fought 2-1 win over Nzoia Sugar in a rescheduled league encounter played at the Moi Stadium, Kisumu on Monday 1 April.
Young lefback Geoffrey Okoth netted the winner with five minutes remaining on the clock, heading in an Erissa Ssekisambu freekick to add on to Francis Mustapha’s first half effort that had cancelled out Hansel Ochieng’s opener just two minutes into the game.
Gor who have now played three games in the space of six days move up to 41 points courtesy of the win, five more than their closest challengers and now with the benefit of having played a game less.
Nzoia on their part continue to struggle, with the loss being the millers’ seventh in nine outings and which leaves them in 12th place with 21 points.
This transitional season that is aimed at having the local football campaign ran concurrently with the European calendar from next season has seen a fixture congestion and more so on the part of K’Ogalo who are fighting it out on three fronts, the league, the CAF Confederations Cup and the FKF Shield Cup.
It is the reason as to why the team has been forced to play three games in the space of six days so as to reduce on their fixture pile-up.
On Monday, it slightly showed that the team was running on tired legs as Nzoia took the game to their opponents and got the first goal immediately after the first whistle as Hansel was bundled over in the box by Wellington Ochieng as he raced down on goal.
The infringement resulted in a penalty which Hansel stepped up to take and converted.
But the millers were unable to hold on to the lead as Burundian forward Mustapha brought his side level just six minutes later, finishing off a Dennis Oliech delivery.
Having tinkered with his side a little for the clash, Hassan Oktay was forced into an early substitution, bringing on Shafiq Batambuze and Lawrence Juma for the largely ineffective midfield pair of Bernard Ondiek and Cercedy Okeyo with minutes remaining to half time.
The half would end even with Gor the more frustrated of the two as they had plenty of the chances only for Humphrey Katasi in the Nzoia goalposts to keep his side in the game.
The second half would see more of the same with Gor on the ascendancy and with Katasi standing immense.
Nzoia would bring on Abraham Kipkogei as they sought to shore up the defence and come away with the point but Gor felt the game was there for the taking, pilling more bodies upfront looking for the decider.
It would come eventually from the unlikeliest of sources as Okoth, who had reverted to playing in midfield following Batambuze’s introduction, scored a backpost header in the 85th minute to break the hearts of Nzoia who had put up a gallant fight.