Juma Balinya notched a double in his first start for Gor Mahia as the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions thrashed Nzoia Sugar 3-0 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Captain Kenneth Muguna added the third after another mercurial performance for Gor who thus extended their KPL lead to four points following Kakamega Homeboyz’s slip against Wazito FC.
At the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, AFC Leopards kept it late to pull off an incredible 1-0 win over the soldiers, new recruit Elvis Rupia netting on his debut as Ingwe left with maximum points.
Leopards who were without lead marksman John-Mark Makwata who sealed a move to Zambian powerhouse Zesco United were the better side in first half with the soldiers’ goalie James Saruni the busiest of the two goalies.
Leopards who face Tusker in their next match remain sixth with 34 points, one behind Ulinzi.
Meanwhile Gor have now won four in a row, caught up and overtaken Homeboyz and Tusker FC who exchanged league leads for the better part of the KPL’s first leg.
Homeboyz appeared to be on course for another victory that would have kept them only a point adrift the leaders after Chris Masinza scored to put 1-0 up against Wazito only for Derrick Otanga to level matters with a stoppage time penalty.
Gor went into the match on the back of three-match winning streak and barely looked like they would struggle to make it four straight wins against the relegation-threatened visitors.
An early cross by Geoffrey Ochieng, who started ahead of Bernard Ondiek at right back, was flicked on by Balinya but he failed to get sufficient contact on it and Benson Mangala picked it up for an easy save.
Gor then won a free-kick and Muguna took it, finding Samuel Onyango who could only shoot into Chris Wasemba with his connection for a corner kick.
Onyango was on the end of another ball moments later and this time he forced a smart stop from Mangala after connecting well with Clifton Miheso’s cross down the left channel.
Gor’s breakthrough finally arrived a minute before the break thanks to some wonderful work from Ochieng whose lovely cross was guided on goal by Onyango and spilled back into the path of Balinya. The Ugandan raced onto it and guided a low finish beyond Mangala to open his Gor account.
A defense-splitting pass released Onyango through on goal and the winger fed it back for Balinya who had to adjust his step before turning it into the back of the net for the brace and double Gor’s advantage.
Muguna then put his name on the score-sheet after turning in a rebound from Miheso’s shot and should have grabbed a brace when he dribbled his way into a one-on-one situation with Mangala, rounded him but sent his final effort into the side-netting.
Additional reporting by Godfrey Ashiali
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