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Congolese Leopards claw Gor Mahia

Gor Mahia went down 1-0 in a Caf Champions League encounter against Congo’s AC Leopard at the Nyayo National Stadium.

A goal from Gandze Cesair ensured the visitors secured an important win ahead of the return leg two weeks from now in Brazzaville.

Cesair struck barely five minutes after half time with a left foot volley that flew past goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch.

The first half showed every indication that the match could go either way, with Michael Olunga and George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo’s brilliant work upfront being matched equally by Congolese strikers Magnokele Bissele and Makiesse Junior.

Gor Mahia started the match brilliantly with Olunga striking the upright within the first minute of play.

Six minutes later Godfrey Walusimbi picked out Olunga with a nice cross but the lanky forward’s header found the post yet again.

Leopards took longer to settle in the game but when they eventually did, they were as threatening as they were unforgiving through their front line marshalled by Makiesse Junior.

He could have sent the visitors ahead in the the 29th minute when he beat defender Dirkir Glay on the left side, but his hastily taken shot was too much and ended up on top of the net.

MATCH WINNER

Junior was at it again four minutes later when he capitalised on a grievous mistake from Timothy Otieno but his shot went slightly out of target.

Olunga, who had an excellent first half managed to overcome two leopards challengers before passing to Odhiambo whose shot was intercepted by defender Nzamba Ulrich.

Baebey Gueloerd almost scored Leopards’ opener four minutes before half time but his thunderous shot ricocheted off the crossbar and into the hands of Oluoch.

The visitors came back stronger in the second half and it was only five minutes after resumption when Cesair volleyed into the net after receiving an inviting cross from Cisse Mahamane.

Leopards continued to threaten after this goal and Cisse almost had a goal of his own in the 52nd minute but was dispossessed by the experienced Musa Mohamed inside the box.

Coach Frank Nuttal replaced the inefficient Timothy Otieno with Ali Abondo, but the change bore no fruits with the home team creating very few chances in the second half.

After the match, Nuttal commended his team for a job well done, and reminded the fans that this is only half time in the two leg tie.

“I really applaud the players. They dominated the first half and every player’s contribution was impressive. The opponent had one chance in the second half and nothing else. We’ll see how it goes in the return match,” he said.