Kenya's premier league kings Gor Mahia took a giant step at qualifying for the lucrative Caf Champions League group stage after a 3-1 win over Nigeria's Lobi Stars in their first round first leg match in Nairobi on Sunday.
Kenyan international winger Samuel Onyango struck within 12 minutes to add onto Jacques Tuyisenge’s sixth-minute opener in the clash at the Moi International Sports Complex, Kasarani.
Mathias Samuel had pulled one back for the visitors on the half-hour mark.
Tuyisenge, who started up front for the on-form Ivorian striker Ephrem Guikan, the latter ineligible for this round, was audaciously put through on goal by Francis Kahata to fire home with a ferocious right volley past goalkeeper Ospina Egbe sending the close to 5,000 Gor faithful in the stands into a frenzy.
Clear their lines
Onyango doubled the lead on 21 minutes with an outrageous bicycle kick from inside the six-yard box.
Francis Mustafa had failed to connect with Tuyisenge’s clipped cross from the right flank and with Lobi defenders unable to clear their lines, Onyango capitalised on the scuffle for his first goal in the campaign.
Samuel reduced the deficit at the half hour mark with a glancing header from a Kwambe Solomon corner kick that hit the upright of the left post, before sailing into the back of the net with Gor goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch stranded.
Lobi had been forced to their first change two minutes before by pulling out injured defender Umar Zango for Austine Ogunye.
On 33 minutes, Onyango completed his brace in an outstanding fashion, thanks to a porous Lobi defence.
The former Ulinzi Stars man dispossessed left-back Duru Chidiebube, darted down the right flank before rounding the onrushing Lobi custodian Ospina Egbe and weaved through defenders Umar Zango and Emmanuel Agbaji, who had recovered in time to stop him, before smashing in an empty net to end an action packed first half.
The second half was a tale of missed opportunities for the hosts. Tuyisenge thought he had claimed a brace on 66 minutes after lobbing the ball over Egbe, but his follow up effort missed the target with the Rwandan striker collapsing to the ground in shock – as was his coach Hassan Oktay.
A minute later, Mustafa forced Egbe into a fingertip save with a shot inside the area, before Oktay withdrew Onyango for George “Blackberry” Odhiambo.
Gor made two changes from the team that brushed aside Zoo Kericho 4-0 in a league match at the same venue on Wednesday.
Tuyisenge rested Guikan as Joash replaced Paschal Ogweno at the back.
Boniface Oluoch easily collected Kadri Timileyin’s shot to force the first save of the match three minutes into time.