Kenya/Burundi: Vintage Gor Mahia Destroy Aigle Noir

25 August 2019

Nicholas Kipkurui Sunday masterminded a 5-1 aggregate win for Gor Mahia over Burundi's Aigle Noir in the preliminaries of this season's Caf Champions League at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Despite consistently being overlooked for national team duty, the 26-year old attacker needed 37 first half minutes to score twice and aid his team towards a comfortable victory against the tame opponents.

"This isn't about me. It's a fantastic result and we have played very well in what could have been a tough game. We settled in early which was crucial," he explained in his post match comments.

This was the third consecutive victory for K'Ogalo new coach Steven Pollack, which was attained without the services of three lead strikers namely Ivorian Yikpe and Ghanaian Francis Afriyie, both new signings who were not registered in time for this match.

Dennis Oliech was also left out owing to fitness issues but it ultimately didn't matter.

The hosts produced an excellent brand of attacking football which excited thousands of fans in attendance, including opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Meanwhile, the result also ensured a double victory for team Kenya in the first stage of the continental championship after Bandari earlier scrapped through on away goals rule following an aggregate 1-1 away to Sudan's Al Ahli Shendy on Friday night.

As early as the opening minute, Kipkurui was flagged offside by assistant referee Ambroise Hakizimana as he prepared to pull the trigger with only Aigle Noir keeper Aime Ndizeye to beat.

Moments later, he left his marker for the dead on the right flank and floated in a telling low cross which ultimately failed to trouble the visiting rearguard, and Ndizeye.

But with seven minutes played, and at the third time of asking, he connected to Kenneth Muguna's cross and the ball took a wicked deflection to fly into the net for the opening goal.

The former Zoo Kericho striker was nowhere near done.

Nine minutes later, he was also at hand to head home after a well worked corner kick, with the final ball coming in from the right hand side from Lawrence Juma.

Fast forward and with 37 minutes played, he tapped into an empty net a Wellington Ochieng effort following a defensive mix-up involving Ndizeye and Jospin Nshirimana.

On the other side, Aime Christian had the best chance for Noir in the opening half when he found himself through on goal.

But Gor's Tanzanian keeper David Mapigano proved equal to the task, saving the first shot, and then doing enough to distract the forward from hitting the target in his second attempt.

It was soon 4-0, with minutes into the second half. New signing Dickson Ambundo pounced to stab home his first of the afternoon after Ndizeye spilled what seemed to be a harmless cross into the box from Boniface Omondi.

Kipkurui had the ball in the net again with 20 minutes to go but it didn't count as he was adjudged to have touched the ball with his arm in the run up.

But it didn't matter as the scoresheet soon read 5-0, as Omondi turned from provider to scorer. He raced clear on goal after receiving a cheeky back heel pass from a teammate and easily beat the advancing Ndizeye with a tame shot.

Benjamin Gasongo pulled a goal back for Aigle Noir late on, which ultimately proved a consolation.

With this result, the Kenyan champions are now 180 minutes away from progressing to the lucrative group stage of the tournament. Gor will now meet the aggregate winner between Algeria's USM Alger and Niger's SONIDEP in the first round.

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