Gor Mahia beat Bandari 1-0 to win the Kenyan Premier League Super Cup at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Sunday.
Lawrence Juma scored the crucial goal in the 64th minute, reacting fast to thump home after Bandari custodian Michael Wanyika parried away Kenneth Muguna’s cross from the right. There was luck written all over Juma's strike as his shot took a wicket deflection off Brian Otieno giving Wanyika no chance.
Gor coach Steven Pollack lauded his charges for a good show in the second half especially after youngster Tobias Otieno was sent off for a second bookable offense in the 77th minute.
“We had a poor first half but played better in the second half. I liked our fighting spirit especially after Tobias Otieno was sent off. I am happy with the team so far but obviously we have to improve on some areas. The players are getting to understand how I want them to play. We need to move the ball faster from our half and be quick in transition,” assessed Pollack who remarkably won his first trophy on Kenyan soil in his first 'home' game.
Despite the loss, Bandari tactician Bernard Mwalala was impressed by the display from his charges.
“I think we did way better than in our game a week ago against Al Ahly Shendi. We were the better side as usual but were not sharp upfront. Gor Mahia got once chance that made the difference. That is how football is, we will now work on fixing our weakness upfront,” noted Mwalala.
Ghanaian Francis Afriyie, who was making his debut for K’Ogalo, could have given them the lead in the first minute but he headed wide from Juma's inviting cross.
Clifton Miheso, who was also starting his first match for Gor, was fouled in the 14th minute at the edge of the box and he floated the resultant freekick beautifully into the box. However Muguna could not keep his header down as they continued to push for the opening goal. Bandari responded swiftly a minute later, Danson Chetambe playing William Wadri through on goal but the Ugandan shot wide.
The dockers won a freekick just outside the box in the 23rd minute after Sammy Onyango fouled Chetambe but David King'atua’s powerful shot did not trouble Gor Mahia custodian David Mapigano.
Mwalala made a double change in the 50th minute bringing in Benjamin Mosha and Hassan Abdallah for Shaban Kenga and David King'atua respectively. Pollack replied introducing Kennedy Otieno for Samuel Onyango while Afriyie was replaced by Nicholas Kipkirui. And it was Gor who found the breakthrough.
Muguna and Miheso exchanged neat passes on the right wing before the latter delivered a dangerous cross into the box that Wanyika punched away only as far as the edge of the box. Juma hit a first time shot that was aided into the net by Brian Otieno's outstretched leg.
Bandari threw men forward in search of the equalizer but Gor's central defence pairing of Charles Momanyi and Joash Onyango thwarted their attacks. Mosha’s volley in the 73rd minute was perhaps their best chance in the second half. Tobias Otieno was having a game of his life in the middle of the park but it was cut short after picking a second yellow card for a foul on Wadri.
With six minutes left, Pollack pulled out Kennedy Otieno for Joachim Oluoch in an obvious attempt to protect the slim lead. Geoffrey Ochieng could have doubled Gor's lead in the 87th but his curling shot from the edge of the box went just inches wide with Wanyika well beaten.