Leopards hand Gor their first defeat of the season

Diallo's late second half strike condemns K'Ogalo to first league loss in almost two years.

Monday March 7 2016

Lamine Diallo of AFC Leopards celebrates his goal against Gor Mahia during their SportPesa Premier League match at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani, Nairobi, on Match 6, 2016. Leopards won 1-0. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Lamine Diallo of AFC Leopards celebrates his goal against Gor Mahia during their SportPesa Premier League match at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani, Nairobi, on Match 6, 2016. Leopards won 1-0. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ISAAC SWILA
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Lamine Diallo came off the bench to score an 83rd minute goal that handed AFC Leopards the much desired bragging rights and three points that come with it in a feisty Mashemeji Derby at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani, Nairobi, on Sunday.

Diallo made the most of a well-placed acute pass from Yusuf Juma, also a substitute, to rifle in past Jerim Onyango in Gor’s goal and ran across the pitch to celebrate with the ecstatic Ingwe fans jumping on the stands.

His beautiful strike lit up the 60,000-seater stadium as Ingwe fans rose to their feet to urge their boys on with barely 10 minutes left while stunned K’Ogalo fans were left speechless.

The big cats have been roaring since the season  began and are unbeaten in four matches; winning three and drawing one. Victory over their traditional rivals yesterday hauled their points tally to 10.

For K’Ogalo, the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow as they played unbeaten their entire season last year.

DOMINATED FIRST HALF

With the defeat on Sunday, their hope of  replicating last term’s record went up in smoke.

Gor, coached by Scotsman Frank Nuttall who are still chasing after their first win of the season dominated the first half with several chances falling on diminutive winger Innocent Wafula who was however wasteful.

Ingwe came to life in the last quarter of the game with a series of attacks to chants of “Ingwe! Ingwe!” from their fans.

“I have to give them for the courage and the motivation to keep pushing on. We missed the services of key players like Michael Olunga, Meddie Kagere and Ali Abondo,” losing coach Nuttall said after the match.

His opposite number Ivan Minnaert was modest in victory. “Everybody was behind this (victory). Now we have to keep pushing. We still having 26 games to go. Every game is different.”

Prior to the kick off, both sets of players observed a minute of silence in honour of former Kenya skipper Levy Khayati who passed on last week in Shinyalu, Kakamega.

A fair crowd turned out at Kasarani to watch this, the most anticipated fixture of the season pitting the two most followed football sides in the country with a rivalry dating back to the 1960s.

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