Nairobi — Record Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia have dropped out of the CAF Champions League after losing 2-1 to Algerian side CR Belouizdad in the return leg of the competition’s first round in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Gor Mahia lost the tie 8-1 on aggregate, having shipped in six unanswered goals in the first leg in Algiers on Boxing Day and will now have to contest for a place in the CAF Confederations Cup, with a play-off round date awaiting them.
The home side came from behind to snatch victory in Nairobi and progress to the group stages for the first time since 2001.
Burundian forward Jules Ulimwengu scored the opening goal in the first half for Gor, but AMir Sayoud who was Gor’s chief tormentor in the first leg showed up again with a goal and assist within the final 12 minutes of the game.
Sayoud scored in the 78th minute before laying off the ball for Abdelkader Belharane six minutes later for the second.
With a six-goal mountain to climb, Gor knew they needed to be faster off the blocks to stand any meaningful chance of progressing.
However, they were hampered by a Belouizdad side that sat behind the ball and defended in numbers, while Gor lacked the key to open up the spaces behind the defence and create scoring opportunities.
They however got a chance to do so after 19 minutes and it was the returning skipper Muguna who would provide the chance.
The midfielder lifted the ball over the defense to pick out Ulimwengu’s run with the Burundian slotting the ball in between the keeper’s legs for the opener. Muguna had shown his hunger for goal a few minutes earlier with his shot from distance flying over the bar.
Gor continued to press, but were careless in possession especially in the final third. Clifton Miheso was guilty of most of the lost balls as he was either dispossessed easily or laid out a stray pass.
The visitors should have grabbed a choker in the final minute of the opening half when Larbi Tabti was sent through on goal with a peach of a pass, but with only the keeper to beat, he tried to chip the ball over Gad Mathews but the Gor custodian easily collected.
In the second half, the visitors were a bit adventurous moving forward and had a chance on the hour mark when a swift move at the edge of the box released substitute Youccef Bechou on the right but his shot was punched away by Mathews.
Gor then made a change, the off-color Miheso coming out for Malawian Andrew Malisero.
The visitors had another chance in the 65th minute, Bechou once again coming close. He was fed through with a delightful pass by the impressive Amir Sayoud, but a last ditch tackle by Mike Apudo took some sting off the effort to accord Mathews an easy collection.
Their pressure finally bore fruit with 12 minutes left, Sayoud striking a brilliant freekick from the edge of the area after Apudo had brought down Bechou.
They closed shop with six minutes left through a defensive mistake from Gor’s end. Charles Momanyi mistimed a bouncing ball, Bechou won the header to pass to Sayoud who in turn laid a one time pass to Belharane whose first time shot from the right landed into the bottom right of the goal.