Gor Mahia once more face an early exit from the Caf Champions League after suffering a 6-0 whooping at the hands of Algeria’s CR Belouizdad in the first leg of their first round tie in Algiers on Saturday.
CR Belouizdad’s 30-year-old attacking midfielder Amir Sayoud was K’Ogalo’s destroyer-in-chief, bagging a hat-trick while Hamza Bellahouel, winger Larbi Tabti and striker Maecky Ngombo also struck for the hosts in the 6-0 demolition of the visitors at the empty August 20, 1955 Stadium.
The match was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic which is ravaging the world.
The Kenyan champions will now need to beat the Algerians by a seven-goal difference in the return leg on January 5 at Nyayo Stadium to stand a chance of making it to the group stages of the Caf Champions League for the first time in their history.
Tabti put his name on the score sheet after a series of attacks that had Matthews block the first attempt by Sayoud, then Momanyi blocked from Bellahouel before Tabti struck from the rebound after his initial shot had also been blocked.
With the game at 4-0 at the break, the out of sorts Gor, who had arrived in Algiers a day earlier after a 15-hour trip from Nairobi that took then to Doha first then to the Algerian capital, tried to fashion out a few attempts to keep the scoreline respectable, but the hosts remained firm.
Sayoud the completed his hat-trick seven minutes after the restart, this time with his knee after the Gor backline was once again torn apart.
There was time for one more goal, this time, Ngombo scoring from inside the area after another superb cross from the left caught the Gor centre-backs napping on 67 minutes.
The chaotic preparations and travel plans that preceeded the match, which was initially scheduled for December 23 but was postponed upon Gor’s request, caught up with the Kenyans in the encounter where they struggled to string two passes together.
Gor players had been on strike and only had two full training sessions before their departure to the North African country.
CR Belouizdad French tactician Franck Dumas praised his charges saying he capitalised on Gor Mahia’s mistakes.
“We have played well and my strikers managed to score quick goals in the first half to put the game out of their reach. We have won by a wide margin and shall do the same in the return leg but this was a perfect match for us and we are almost there,” said the former France international.
“It was a tactical approach because it is a team we have never met before and we were yearning to beat them at home. For now I can say we are almost through to the group stage but we have to be cautious in the second leg since this is football and anything can happen,” he added.
Gor Mahia Starting XI: Gad Mathews (GK), Philemon Otieno, Michael Apudo, Philemon Otieno, Joachim Oluoch, Charles Momanyi, Sydney Ochieng, Samuel Onyango, Tito Okello, Ernest Wendo, Benson Omala, Geoffrey Ochieng’
Subs: Boniface Oluoch, Kelvin Wasonga, Andrew Juma, Nicholas Omondi, Jules Ulimwengu, Clifford Miheso, F Odhiambo
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