Kenyan champions Gor Mahia FC took a colossal fall in Algeria to USM Alger in the first leg of their second-round CAF Champions League fixture; a 4-1 drubbing by the North Africans at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida on Sunday 15 September.
The hosts raced into a 3-0 lead by the break but captain Muguna Kenneth struck a little hope for the traveling team with a penalty to make it 3-1 early in the second half. The away goal was all Gor Mahia could get as USMA added a fourth to claim a huge first-leg advantage.
Zakaria Benchaa had the match’s first open chance in just under five minutes when he raided Gor Mahia’s left flank with a deft first touch but David Mapigano was equal to the point-blank shot.
USMA pressed the visitors hard and by the eighth minute, had forced Wellington Ochieng to a late tackle that had the right full-back issued with a yellow card.
In the 16th minute, Mohammed Mefta sent the hosts into the lead.
Gor Mahia opted for better possession after conceding and had their first attempt on target in the 26th minute. Nicholas Kipkirui’s header ball from a Boniface Omondi chip was however easily collected by USMA keeper.
Mefta completed his brace from the spot after Mapigano was adjudged to have occasioned a foul in the box with just one minute of the first half left to play. Mefta sent Mapigano the wrong way in the first minute of added time.
It got worse. As Gor Mahia waited for the breather, the hosts sneaked in a third goal to further stretch the first leg tie away. 3-0 USMA led after two additional first half minutes.
Coach Steven Pollack threw in Samuel Onyango upon resumption for the second half in Nicholas Kipkirui’s place hoping a few things would change for his team in terms of attack.
Something did change, and the Kenyan champions got an important away goal through captain Kenneth Muguna from the spot. An attempted shot inside the box by Charles Momanyi bounced off a USMA defender’s arm hence the penalty.
As Gor Mahia upped the tempo a little bit, going forward more with confidence and actually keeping the hosts behind the ball, they were undone by a fourth goal.
David Mapigano failed to deal with a 75th-minute free-kick which bounced off the woodwork only to be met by an onrushing Benchaa to make it 4-1.
Starting XI: David Mapigano (GK), Wellington Ochieng, Geoffrey Ochieng, Charles Momanyi, Joash Onyango, Tobias Omondi, Kenneth Muguna (C), Lawrence Juma, Dickson Ambundo, Boniface Omondi, Nicholas Kipkurui.
Bench: Boniface Oluoch (GK), Joachim Oluoch Maurice Ojwang, Ernest Wendo, Samuel Onyango.