The Kenyan champions went into the Semi-final with a good win over Sudanese side Malakia in a game of two halves.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
Ugandan midfielder Godfrey Walusimbi was the unlikely hero as the star studded Gor Mahia went past a resilient Malakia side on Tuesday afternoon in the national stadium in Dar es Salaam. Gor Mahia entered the game seeking to break their thirty year curse of not winning the regional cup since they defeated AFC Leopards in Khartoum in 1985.
The game started with a fast pace, typical of Gor Mahia’s tactical football as they dazzled their opponents with their speed and accurate passes. It took only 3 minutes for Godfrey Walusimbi to grab the first goal of the match and his first of the tournament after he was put through by a low cross from Michael Olunga. Olunga continued probing the Malakia defense though they tried the offside trap on him with some success as the lanky striker could not score on the first half. His Rwandese strike partner Meddie Kagere was also not as lucky as he kept on firing off target even after going past Malakia’s defense. Olunga’s frustrations were compounded when he headed against the crossbar from a cross. The Sudanese replied as Jacob Thomas headed against the post but the resultant counter attack spelt doom for Malakia as Walusimbi got his brace with a well taken goal in the 28th minute.
The second half was a totally different story as Malakia pressed from the outset of the half trying to get an equalizer as Gor Mahia soaked in the pressure and tried to play them on the counter attack. Eric Ochieng made a standout performance as he was very vibrant, putting his pace to good use. However, Malakia’s pressure paid off as the ever potent Jacob Thomas got on the end of Kenyan midfielder Wesley Onguso’s throw. Nonetheless, Gor managed to withstand the pressure and hold on for the win.
In the other quarter final Al Khartoum demolished Rwanda’s APR by 4-0 to set up a date with Gor Mahia in Friday’s Semifinal.