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Gor tame Leopards in nail-biting clash

Saturday February 28 2009

AFC Leopards goalkeeper  Charles Onyango tries in vain to stop a strike by Zablon Otieno of Gor Mahia during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, on Saturday. Gor won 3-2. Photos/MOHAMMED AMIN

AFC Leopards goalkeeper Charles Onyango tries in vain to stop a strike by Zablon Otieno of Gor Mahia during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, on Saturday. Gor won 3-2. Photos/MOHAMMED AMIN 

By SUNDAY NATION Team

Gor Mahia prevailed 3-2 against old rivals AFC Leopards in an action-packed Kenyan Premier League that produced three penalties at Moi International Sports Centre, on Saturday.

An own goal by AFC Leopards’ Allan Huma in the eight minute cancelled Francis Xavier’s fourth minute penalty in a frenetic opening quarter before Habil Otieno and Zablon Otieno struck once each to seal an important win for Gor Mahia.

Chants of “AFC! AFC!” fought for air space with drones of “Gor,Gor Mahia!” as the two sets of fans urged their teams on, reminiscent of the good old days.

And while the quality did not match that of the lost golden era the sheer drama on and off the pitch more than made up for it.

The full of running Zimbabwean Tafadzwa Dondo was brought down in the box by Gor Mahia goalkeeper Fredrick Onyango for old horse Francis Xavier to step up and coolly slot the resultant penalty home.

Brought down

Gor replied minutes later from their opponent’s generosity when central defender Huma put the ball in his own net in a desperate clearance attempt.

Habil Otieno, a constant menace for Leopards, was brought down in the box 25 minutes on but saw his penalty punched back into play by AFC keeper Charles Onyango.

But Onyango’s heroics were in vain as Zablon Otieno reacted quickest to the loose ball to guide it home.

Habil Otieno scored in the 66th minute to extend Gor Mahia’s lead before Xavier put in his second penalty to ensure a tense finale.

Sofopaka 2 Chemelil Sugar 1

Sofopaka continued with their outstanding debut in the top league coming from a goal down to beat Chemelil Sugar 2-1 at MISC.

The impressive Mangu Safari gave Chemelil the lead with a superbly curved free kick in the 48th minute.

But SofaPaka brilliantly fought back to restore parity via a Patrick Kagogo drive from the edge of the penalty following a length-of-the-pitch move in the 56th minute.

Former Kenya international Zablon Amanaka ensured all three points for the KPL upstarts, rising above the Chemelil defence to head in a rare goal.

Thika United 1 Red Berets 0

Thika United maintained their unbeaten record when they gunned down Red Berets by a solitary goal in a closely contested  tie at “Old Trafford” Stadium at Sher in Naivasha.

The winners scored their all-important goal of the match in the 64th minute after United’s striker Dennis Odhiambo blasted on the roof of the net to give the visitors maximum points.