Gor Mahia are on the brink of elimination after falling 2-1 to Madagascar’s CNaPS in the first leg of their Champions League preliminary round at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.
The Kenyan champions must now beat CNaPs by two goals in the return fixture in two weeks time in Madagascar.
Their visitors sprung to an 11th minute lead, capitalising on a misplaced pass by Karin Nizigiyimana to assume possession before Raharenjivo Rinjala got on the end of the final pass to beat Gor’s custodian Boniface Oluoch on his near post.
Manompisa added the second with barely six minutes left on the clock from a goalmouth melee after Musa Mohamed had cleared an earlier effort from the line.
Enock Agwanda had in the 36th minute drew Gor level from the spot after Rakolondraraka had handled in the box, directing his shot to the bottom left corner.
AWAY GOALS ADVANTAGE
In a match where the home side were lethargic, the Malagasy side could have won by a healthy advantage heading into the return leg in Antananarivo in a fortnight but two away goals still puts CNaPs in a strong position to advance to the next stage.
Gor lacked the cutting edge, guile and sharpness upfront, and Jacob Keli picked to lead the hunt for goals could not fit in the big boots left by Michael Olunga.
The pint-sized Keli had a clear-cut chance to fire Gor to a 2-1 lead in the 55th minute, but he fumbled.
Last season, Gor were simply unbeatable on the local scene and after a stellar run in 2015 they were expected to launch a realistic stab for continental honours but going by the shaky display, head coach Frank Nuttall has a lot of work to do.
Their pre-season had showed a lot of promise but they failed to rise to the occasion when it mattered.
Displeased fans expressed their displeasure in the wake of the defeat with chants of “Rachier must go, Rachier must go!”
“I’m very happy to win. The last time we were here we lost 1-0 and it a sweet revenge.
Gor is a big team and the return leg will be difficult,” CNaPS coach Rabeharisoa Herybe said after the victory.
K’Ogalo, whose coach, Nuttall boycotted the post-match interview with journalists, will have themselves to blame for not taking their chances after Agwanda’s close range volley from the box in the 72nd minute was deflected out for an unsuccessful corner.
He missed again with eight minutes to go. A fair crowd watched the match.
Gor Mahia eliminated CNaps in the same competition and at the same stage last year on an away goal rule after a 3-3 aggregate score.
Gor won 1-0 at home but lost 3-1 in Antananarivo.