NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Gor Mahia FC completed a
memorable 4-2 upset of five-time African champions Zamalek FC of
Egypt in Nairobi on Sunday to get their 2018/19 CAF
Confederations Cup group stage campaign off to a dream start.
Gor Mahia forward Jacques Tuyisenge claimed a brace and set up a
third for strike partner Nicholas Kipkurui before Dennis Oliech
came off the bench to seal the victory with a fourth in added
Zamalek responded through Ibrahim Hassan who also scored
twice in the first half after profiting from mistakes from Gor
keeper and Kenya international Boniface Oluoch.
Victory over the favorites in Nairobi saw the Kenyan
champions take early charge of Group D of the Confederations Cup
that also has Angolan heavyweights Petro Atletico and Algerian
side NA Hussein Dey.
The win was also sweet revenge for Gor following their
infamous meeting in the 1984 CAF Africa Champions Cup (now
Champions League) that saw the record 17-time Kenyan champions
banned for three years from continental competition following an
ill-tempered contest against Zamalek in Cairo.
Gor head coach, Hassan Oktay, sprung a surprise in his
selection when he benched record goal-scorer Oliech and captain
Harun Shakava who was returning to CAF action alongside Charles
Momanyi after serving suspension.
Kipkurui was soon involved in the first talking point of the
game when Tarek Ahmed cluttered him to the face in the second
minute, both men writhing on the turf in pain.
The Zamalek defender was lucky to escape with only a yellow
card having appeared to use his elbow with Oktay leading the
In the seventh, Gor fell behind to Zamalek when Oluoch had
dropped a clanger and gifted Zamalek an ill-deserved corner.
The delivery to the box was only half cleared, with the ball
falling to Hassan who fired in a precise left-footed low shot
past the despairing dive of keeper for 1-0 to the visitors.
Gor, with the busy Kipkurui rising in prominence, took charge
of the game and in the 25th Kasarani stadium erupted when
Tuyisenge beat Mahmoud Abd Elrehim for 1-1.
A long floating ball from the left was headed across goal by
the former Zoo Kericho FC star, evading a defender and finding
the record Gor signing who in turn, passed to the advancing
Francis Kahata before accepting the return to fire into the net.
Inspired by getting level, Gor turned the screw, passing up
two wonderful chances to go ahead when Boniface Omondi shot
straight at the keeper before Kipkurui forced a clearance off
the crossbar by Abdallah Saleh for a fruitless corner.
Zamalek had not read the warning side and in the 38th,
Tuyisenge once again showed his predatory instincts when he
headed in a deep Omondi cross from the right at the far post
despite the best efforts of Abd Elrehim to keep it out.
Kasarani was now rocking but all the good work was undone a
minute to the break when Gor were pegged back by a second Hassan
strike that tricked into the net via a deflection that
wrong-footed Oluoch, who had already committed himself.
Zamalek shaded play at the start of the second but it was the
home fans who were up on their feet in the 51st when Kipkurui
put Gor 3-2 ahead with a thumping header from a deep cross from
the right delivered by his forward partner, Tuyisenge.
To the disappointment of fans Kipkurui was forced off the
field injured after he went down to a meaty challenge, paving
way for the legend that is Oliech in the 66th and a just a
minute from coming on, he almost brought the house down when he
almost made it four for Gor in what would have been quite the
Khalid Boutaib then missed a chance to make it 3-3 when he
fired over from close range after a header back from a free-kick
and moments later, the action-packed contest saw Oliech square
the ball for Kahata who screwed the ball wide from inside the
box as the match approached its last quarter of an hour.
Oliech was denied twice by brave defending and after the
second chance went begging, Oktay brought on Shakava in place of
Lawrence Juma as he sought to close out the game with 10 minutes
standing between his side and a famous victory over the
five-time African champions and Group D favorites.
With Zamalek committing men forward in search of an
equalizer, the final flourish fell deservedly to Oliech, who
raced on to a long ball, composed himself by weaving through a
trailing defender before pulling the trigger to send the home
fans into orbit.