Missed chances came back to haunt the Kenyan champions as visiting USM Alger managed to get a point at Kasarani
It was not going to be a rosy affair in the soggy pitch owing to the rains being experienced in the City of Nairobi, and both sides had to be cautious when passing the ball. The art was mastered by the visitors quickly and could have been rewarded as early as the second minute.
The dangerous Mezianne Bentahar found his way into K’Ogalo danger zone and was seemingly flipped. The centre referee from Mali felt that was not a foul and to the disappointment of the visiting team, he waved play on.
That incident was a wakeup call for Gor Mahia, who created a chance of their own in the 20th minute. George ‘Blackbbery’ Odhiambo broke his way past the marker and brought in a cross that was headed by Ephraim Guikan, but the goalkeeper put it out for unfruitful corner.
The best chance for the home team came in the 30th minute. Francis Kahata floated in the ball from the right, Odhiambo headed on target but the custodian parried it, his follow up shot hit the post with the visitors helpless.
Three minutes later, a defensive blunder by Joash Onyango created problems for his side. The former Western Stima defender gave the ball away in the danger zone. He ended up giving away a free-kick and in the bid to clear, it seemingly hit kahata’s arm, but the referee once again let it go.
Gor Mahia was reduced to ten men in the 54th minute after Onyango received a second caution, following his charged sprint against an opponent, a decision that looked harsh. The resultant free-kick did not trouble the goalkeeper as it was clearly cleared.
The numerical disadvantage did not seem to affect the hosts, who continued to push for an elusive opener. It almost came in the 60th minute; Tuyisenge stole from the left to bring in the ball into the six-yard area. The defenders hesitated in clearing it and ‘Blackberry’ managed to get the ball, only to be fouled but surprisingly the referee did not bother.
Tuyisenge had a chance to give his side a lead when the defensive lapses gave him possession in the opponent’s zone, but he could not get the ball into the net. Despite late pressure by both sides including a fierce drive by Kahata with about ten minutes to go, no side managed to get the winner.
USM Alger has four points from two matches, while Gor Mahia has collected two.
Gor Mahia XI: Boniface Oluoch, Haron Shakava, Godfrey Walusimbi, Joash Onyango, Philemon Otieno, Humphrey Mieno, Boniface Omondi, Francis Kahata, George Odhiamb, Ephraim Guikan and Jacques Tuyisenge.
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Subs: Shaban Odhoji, Charles Momanyi, Joachim Oluoch Cercidy Okeyo, Kevin Omondi, Ernest Wendo and Bernard Ondiek.
USM Alger XI: Mohamed Lamine, Ayoub Abdellaoui, Mohamed Benyahia, Faroukh Chafai, Fouazi Yaya, Kadoour Beldjilalai, Okacha Hamzaoui, Reda Hahouji, Meziane Abderahmane, Oualid Ardji and Oussama Darfalou.
Subs: Smail Mansouri, Amir Sayoud, Mohamed Amine, Qualid Arji, Redouame Cherifi and Rafik Bouderbal.