Gor Mahia hit Ulinzi wall as Mashemeji derby looms

If Ulinzi Stars had carried all their ammunition, then defending champions Gor Mahia should have tasted their first defeat of the 2016 SportPesa Premier League season at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Thursday.

Thursday March 3 2016

AIRBORNE: Oscar Wamalwa of Ulinzi Stars (right) controls the ball ahead of Gor Mahia's Luke Ochieng during their KPL encounter at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on March 3, 2016. The game ended 0-0. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH |

AIRBORNE: Oscar Wamalwa of Ulinzi Stars (right) controls the ball ahead of Gor Mahia's Luke Ochieng during their KPL encounter at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on March 3, 2016. The game ended 0-0. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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By CELLESTINE OLILO
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If Ulinzi Stars had carried all their ammunition, then defending champions Gor Mahia should have tasted their first defeat of the 2016 SportPesa Premier League season at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Thursday.

The Robert Matano-coached soldiers will rue their missed chances for a long time to come in a game they dominated for large spells.

And the man who will have sleepless night is John Mark Makwatta who, on several occasions, penetrated through the rear guard of Gor Mahia but fluffed his shots.

John Nairuka should have given the soldiers their opening goal two minutes before the breather but his well taken shot was parried out for a fruitless corner by Gor goalkeeper Fredrick Onyango.

Then Makwatta, who gave the Gor Mahia defence a hectic time, outpaced his markers but with a yawning goal shot wide.

After recess Gor came back a rejuvenated side and in the 60th minute Karim Nizigiyimana had the best chance of the visitors when he controlled a low shot inside the danger zone only to see his effort blocked by the gallant Omar Mbongi.

Churchill Muloma’s rising blockbuster was stopped by Onyango before Francis Kahata wasted chance at the other end two minutes later as Gor tried to hit back.

With only five minutes before the final whistle, Gor defence was on the receiving end of an attack by Oscar Wamalwa and Makwatta.

“Poor finishing was our undoing, but we shall improve in the next game,” said Ulinzi coach Matano.

“We are yet to get our footing and I hope the boys will realise the league has kicked off and get down to serious business,” said Gor coach Frank Nuttall.

Meanwhile, AFC Leopards striker Andrew Tololwa is convinced that his team’s growing confidence can inspire them to victory in Sunday’s Nairobi derby at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Tololwa, who is eager to take part in his first Mashemeji Derby, told Daily Nation Sport that improving Ingwe are capable of trouncing their rivals, and he was excited about the Sunday clash.

“Of course everyone is excited about that. We are now playing good football and we are happy with the progress we are making. All of us are motivated for the derby and I am expecting an entertaining match that day.

“There is still a lot of improvement to be done though, but many of us are planning to make our names during the match, so if everything goes according to plan then we shall emerge victorious,” he said.

Ingwe are unbeaten this season, and they highlighted their ability to rise higher with a 1-0 win over title favourites Bandari on Wednesday night courtesy of Kepha Aswani’s early strike.

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