K’Ogalo hit Ulinzi Stars to lift Top-8 title
Gor Mahia won the 2012 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Top-8 tournament after stopping former champions Ulinzi 2-0 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
A goal each by Rama Salim and Itubu Imbem in extra-time separated the two sides but Salim’s goal was not without controversy.
Salim’s header from a Moses Odhiambo corner appeared not to have crossed the line and television replays showed Lawrence Owino kept it out after goalkeeper Jacktone Odhiambo had spilled out the effort.
Ulinzi defenders are to blame for allowing Imbem to score the second goal.
From a move initiated by hard fighting Edwin Lavatsa, the soldiers hesitated just a bit initially thinking that Lavatsa would be a awarded a free-kick but it was not to be as Lavatsa pushed the ball to Salim.
The soldiers then made another costly mistake, failing to mark out Salim whom they thought was off-side and it was a mistake they will live to regret as the tiny striker picked out Imbem who did not hesitate to score with amazing precision.
Ulinzi had an early chance to go ahead in the 37th minute but Anthony Nderitu squandered from the penalty spot after man of the match Jerim Onyango spectacularly stopped his shot.
Centre referee Nasor Doka did not hesitate to award the penalty after Ivans Anguyo had handled in the box to try and neutralise the Ulinzi pressure. The soldiers, who came into the match as underdogs had quickly evened out things as early as the fifth minute and were clearly the better side.
Off-side trap beaten
They made good use of their physical presence to completely cut out Gor in midfield. The dangerous Gor striking force of Salim and Dan Ssrenkuma did not have space to play and were cut off, but Ulinzi were always in danger of having their off-side trap beaten.
Twice, Salim beat the trap and the first time be pulled out Jacktone Odhiambo but his effort to pick out Ssrenkuma did not succeed. His second attempt equally failed.
Apart from the penalty miss, Kevin Simiyu’s rifling shot just before the half time was kept out by Jerim Onyango for a fruitless corner. Stephen Waruru also wasted a couple of free-kicks as the soldiers threw away chance after chance.
Ulinzi coach Sammy Simiyu regretted the missed chances and said Gor deserved to win.
“Our intention was to retain the cup but we did not use our chances. Gor had two chances and used them. They deserve to have won. We will now focus on the league and our remaining fixtures,” he said.
His Gor counterpart Zradvko Logarusic paid tribute to Ulinzi for making life difficult for them. “If Ulinzi had scored first, the match would have ended in their favour. They gave us a hard time but we are glad it ended well for us,” he said.
At Bukhungu Stadium, Western Stima hit Karuturi Sports 3-0. Stima’s goals were scored by Fred Shimoyo (15th minute), Hudson Muhako (71st minute) and Ali Bah in the 79th.
Elsewhere, Muhoroni Youth picked a point after holding visiting Mathare United to a 1-1 draw.
By Gilbert Wandera, The Standard
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