Barry Silah @obel_barry
It was not the titanic clash anticipated by fans at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, after the Mashemeji Derby ended goalless with no clear cut chances witnessed from either side
In the first half, it was K’Ogalo who settled faster with captain Kenneth Muguna being the main driving force from the midfield spraying passes to Nicholas Kipkirui and Samuel Onyango but nothing concrete came off.
Inside two minutes, however, Collins Shichenje, in a new role of deep lying six, tripped Kipkirui but Muguna’s subsequent free kick and corner thereafter were unsuccessful.
Three minutes later, Leopards got their first free-kick of the match after Fabrice Mugheni was fouled by Geoffrey Ochieng almost 25 yards out. Captain Robinson Kamura lined up to take it but his subsequent long shot was blocked by Ernest Wendo, allowing goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch to calmly take it in the air.
Ingwe were beginning to get into the game as Austin Odhiambo and Marvin Nabwire started prodding the spaces and asking questions but the four man backline was up to the task.
In the 22nd minute,Ingwe’s danger man Elvis Rupiah was to get his first shot towards goal after being nicely teed up by Nabwire but his shot did not trouble the goalkeeper much.
Two minutes afterwards, Muguna found a sprinting Kipkirui but he was slow, losing the ball with good space.
The second half started off a bit slow but both teams quickly settled with Ingwe coming up good with new substitute Harrison Mwendwa running things from the left wing.
However, K’Ogalo started getting good balls with Alpha Onyango just missing a sitter in the 49th minute after being teed up by Samuel Onyango with Ochan staying put.
It was a balanced affair afterwards particularly with good contests witnessed in the midfield with the impressive youngster Alponce Onyango battling hard with substitute Eugene Mukangula.
AFC Leopards also brought on Peter Thiongo to add the bite upfront as they sized up the opponent’s defence as K’Ogalo coach Manuel Pinto brought on dreadlocked South Sudanese Tito Okello for the ineffective Nicholas Kipkirui and John Macharia for Samuel Onyango.
The last 20 minutes saw Ingwe dominate and threaten the spaces but the backline of Gor Mahia stood firm as the match closed out with shared spoils.
Coach Pinto told reporters afterwards: “We should have done better with our chances and I was not happy with our transition which was a bit slow. Nevertheless we will regroup and come back sharper.”
AFC coach Kimani said he was happy with the second half approach from his charges.
“We came back after the break stronger and we had more of the ball in dangerous places. Overall I am proud of the boys for a good display,”he said.
K’Ogalo now shifts focus on the CAF Confederations Cup group stage qualifier against Zambian side NAPSA Stars this coming weekend while Ingwe plan for the first round of the 2021 FKF Betway Cup as the league takes a break.