Gor Mahia boosted their title defence chances with a hard fought 1-0 over hosts Vihiga United in a rescheduled BetKing Premier League contest staged at the Mumias Sports Complex on Thursday.
Miheso Clifton’s powerful first half drive was the difference in the tie that condemns the hosts to more time at the base of the log.
Mustapha Oduor’s calm collection of a fourth minute Clifton Miheso cross signalled the start of a busy day at the back for the hosts. Five minutes later, Vihiga skipper Patrick Okullo stood behind an edge-of-the box free-kick which Gad Otieno in goal for Gor, parried back into play.
Mike Mururi’s start of a second tenure at Vihiga saw the roping in of seasoned midfielder Justin Monda into the starting team.
His task of the day, primarily to deny Gor’s build up from the back. He would get into the referee’s book at the quarter mark after going in too hard on Kenneth Muguna.
Three minutes later, speedy winger Dennis Wafula breached Gor’s left flank and had to be stoped by Geoffrey Okoth who then earned the visitors’ first booking.
The visitors took control of the midfield and Mururi, sensing a second booking for Monda, threw in Stewart Omondi in his place at the half hour mark.
The closest chance of the opening half hour will go to Clifton Miheso who, in a one on one with Mustapha in the 31st minute, saw the lanky shot-stopper thwart his finish. Vihiga survived a real scare.
The left footed Gor attacker would however make amends on 40 minutes with a long range drive that eventually breached Mustapha’s defences.
Gor led at the break.
The second half began with the visitors pushing for a second. Karim Abdul Nikiema on the end of a decent drive outside the box that Mustapha would deal with in the 51st minute. United made another change with Lawrence Luvanda taking the place of Patrick Okullo at the hour mark.
Stewart grabbed a loose ball and set up Wafula in the 65th minute, but the forward’s hurried shot was collected by Gad in goal.
Gor made their first changes in the 77th minute, pulling out goal scorer Miheso and Kenneth Muguna in favour of Sydney Ochieng and Samuel Onyango. In a bid to kill the tie, Gad Otieno would be adjudged to have dissented and booked for time wasting, this, while the hosts piled pressure for the equaliser.
The hosts could not turn the game against a title chasing Gor Mahia, losing 1-0 at their backyard.