Disappointing! Gor Mahia’s eight-match unbeaten home record undone by Moroccan rivals

Gor Mahia are left with one tall mountain to climb following Sunday’s painful 2-0 loss to Moroccan side RS Berkane in their Caf Confederation Cup quarterfinal first leg tie at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

A red faced Gor coach Hassan Oktay blamed the loss on the players’ strike that had seen them boycott training in the days leading up to the match.

Midway through the second half, a scary looking man ventured onto the pitch and gestured animatedly at a bewildered assistant coach Zedekiah Zico Otieno, letting him know in no uncertain terms that more was to be desired from the team.

“My job is very difficult. These types of games require players to be at the best frame of mind. Days before the match the players are on strike. You struggle so hard to motivate them all season and then this. A 2-0 loss because of this. I am so hurt. My job is hard,” said a dejected Oktay in his post match interview.

“The five missing players affected team balance and the quality of our performance today. That’s why we lost,” said Oktay.

It was a match the hosts badly needed to win in order to ease pressure ahead of the return match scheduled for April 14 in Morocco.

The green and white shirts staged their game before a sizable crowd and a host of dignitaries including former Football Kenya Federation president Sam Nyamweya and new Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.

Try as they did, the local champions were doubly unsuccessful in that mission, and will now pray for a miracle as they approach the second leg in the North African country.

K’Ogalo coach Hassan Oktay, who was being represented at the touch line by his deputy, started with a highly offensive line up that demonstrated his desire for numerous goals.

Oktay had been suspended from the match by Caf together with Shaffiq Batambuze, Harun Shakava, Jacques Tuyisenge and Ernest Wendo for infringements of varying kinds in the course of this competition.

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In the end, Gor’s eight match unbeaten home record in this competition came undone by the Moroccans, who apart from being highly tactical, had tall, overbearing physiques such that it was clear from the onset that their most lethal strength was in corners and set pieces.

More importantly, the hosts were missing left back Batambuze and lead striker Tuyisenge.

While Gor took comfort in the experience of veteran Dennis Oliech, the Moroccans seemed to bank on midfielder Omar Namsaoui, who was constantly at the centre of many chances for Berkane.

He delivered a free kick in the 24th minute which ace midfielder Issoufou Dayo headed accurately into the net to temporarily silence the raucous home fans.

Barke El Helali added salt to injury for K’Ogalo in the 51st minute when he capitalised on a defensive mistake from Philemon Otieno to send the ball right into the net.

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Boniface Omondi, Kahata and Oliech had good chances in the first half, but they lacked in luck and finishing technique and all their chances came to naught in that first half.

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