The eternal Mashemeji Derby is slowly becoming a one-sided affair and Gor Mahia FC coach Hassan Oktay could not agree more after the SportPesa Premier League champions and leaders humbled their arch-rivals AFC Leopards SC 3-1 on Sunday.
Leopards, who have not won a domestic league title in 21 years, are now finding it next to impossible to record a victory over their fiercest adversaries who beat them yet again during the 86th league meeting at the MISC Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi to pile on the misery for their supporters who turned up in their droves.
Gor were by far the more superior side in front of a massive crowd at the cathedral of Kenyan football to inch closer to a record-extending 18th league title and leave Leopards wounded without a derby success in 11 successive meetings in all competitions.
Thousands of fans in attendance played their part and gave the game a proper derby atmosphere until Gor began to dominate proceedings and turn what was supposed to be a fierce contest into a procession, hushing the Leopards faithful in the stands.
Nicholas Kipkirui was the hero for Gor, scoring a double and setting up Rwandese forward Jacques Tuyisenge for the third before Leopards forward Vincent Oburu pulled one back for Andre Mbungo’s side.
“We had control of the game in the first half and second half. We missed so many chances. The last 10 minutes we missed three clear chances and we should have won even 7-1,” Oktay told the media after the game.
Leopards last defeated Gor in March 2016 during a league clash they prevailed 1-0 courtesy of a substitute Lamine Diallo late winner and on Sunday, the 12-time domestic champions slumped to a third straight loss.
The painful defeat left them 10th on the SPL table, a whopping 30 points behind the Gor (69) who have an eight-point gap at the summit with three games of the season left.
“We dominated the game, played attractive football and won. I always respect every single team and discipline is first in my book; but they didn’t give us competition.
“I was expecting a lot more from them today (Sunday), I thought they would give us a hard game, but they didn’t. Other than the thousands of fans in attendance, it did not feel like a derby,” the Turkish tactician offered in adding salt to the Ingwe wounds.
Gor have one hand on the SPL trophy and a victory against relegation-threatened Vihiga United FC on Wednesday at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos will guarantee that they will be crowned champions.
The record league winners will make it three consecutive title parties and a sixth crown in the last seven seasons to continue their choke-hold on Kenyan club football’s biggest prize.
“I didn’t even check the table because we still have three games to go and the league is not yet won. We have to give our best until the last game because I respect all the teams,” Oktay explained.
Leopards, on the other hand, are now without a win in their last five and will attempt to return to winning ways on Thursday when they battle relegated Mt. Kenya United FC.
“Our performance was not bad today. If we compare how we played the last time out and now, there was an improvement.
“There is still a few games left to play, we just have to pick ourselves up and focus on that,” Leopards coach Mbungo stated.