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Troubled Gor, USM Alger seek solace in Blida battle

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JEFF KINYANJUI

By JEFF KINYANJUI
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Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia will take on Algerian side USM Alger in a first round Caf Champions League tie at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida on Sunday night amid off-pitch issues from both sides.

K’Ogalo had to wait on the Ministry of Sport to bail them out with air tickets to Algeria after desperately knocking on doors all week while USM Alger are also facing financial challenges after club president Ali Haddad’s bank accounts and those of the club were frozen over alleged corruption.

The two teams met last year at the group stage of the Confederation Cup with the first leg in Nairobi ending in a barren draw while USM Alger won 2-1 at home.

To qualify for this stage, Gor Mahia edged Burundian side Aigle Noir 5-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round while USM Alger beat SONIDEP from Niger 3-1 to advance.

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack is eager to guide the team into the group stage but is wary of the threat USM Alger pose at home. “I know they beat us last year but history counts for nothing in modern football. We will fight hard and ensure we come back to Kenya with a positive result. However, I know North Africans are not easy to play at their own backyard. We have a game plan and I am optimistic it will work,” Polack told Nation Sport.

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Jacques Tuyisenge was the main man for K’Ogalo upfront last season but with the Rwandese striker having left the team to join Angolan giants Petro Atletico, Nicholas Kipkirui has proved an able replacement. He will most likely lead the goal hunt while Tanzanian custodian David Mapigano has been the preferred safe pair of hands between the sticks.

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USM Alger will miss the services of midfielder Mohammed Benkhemassa who recently joined Spanish second-tier side Malaga. USM Alger are fourth in the Algerian top-tier with seven points from three matches, the latest a 3-2 win over Ain M’lila while Gor Mahia started their season with a 5-2 win over Tusker. The return leg will be at Kasarani on September 29.

Probable Gor Mahia line-up

David Mapigano (GK), Wellington Ochieng, Joash Onyango, Charles Momanyi, Geoffrey Ochieng, Tobias Otieno, Kenneth Muguna (C), Lawrence Juma, Boniface Omondi, Nicholas Kipkirui, Dickson Ambundo

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Man United vs Everton: Greenwood rescues Red Devils at Old Trafford ▷ Kenya News

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– Man United vs Everton saw the two sides settle for a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford

– A first half own goal handed the visitors the lead before Greenwood equalising

– United remain sixth on the standings with 25 points, one behind fifth-placed Spurs

Man United had to rely on a late goal from substitute Mason Greenwood on Sunday afternoon, December 15, to secure a vital point at home against a stubborn Everton side.

United came into the match with the aim of extending their unbeaten streak in the Premier League to six matches as they push to break into the top four.

However, they had to wait until late in the second half break Everton who had taken an early lead courtesy of a Victor Lindelof own goal.

The Red Devils dominated the opening exchanges of the clash, but went down trailing after a defensive gaffe saw Lindelof direct the ball into his own net in the 36th minute.

Man United vs Everton: Greenwood rescues Red Devils at Old Trafford

Mason Greenwood scores the equaliser against Everton at Old Trafford. Photo: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

The goal resulted from a well taken corner kick that swung in only for David De Gea to miss the punch as the ball hit the centre back to roll in.

The restart of the second half saw a cautious Everton parade a rock solid defence, thereby frustrating the home side who were keen to restore parity.

Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial all came close to drawing United level in the first 20 minutes of the half, but all their efforts proved futile.

It was the introduction of Greenwood in the 65th minute that made the difference, with the youngster showing flashes of brilliance, nearly setting up Dan James for the leveller four minutes later.

He, however, went on to score in the 77th minute, striking low through Yerry Mina’s legs into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

With neither side able to get the winner for the remainder of the clash, the two teams had to settle for the draw.

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Warriors of class: Ulinzi claim basketball league title

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Ulinzi Warriors were on Saturday night  crowned Kenyan basketball men Premier League champions after a 67-63 win sealed a 3-1 series victory over Thunder in the playoff final played at Makande Gymnasium in Mombasa.

The Soldiers put to an end Kenya Ports Authority (KPA)’s dominance in the domestic league after the Dockers won the league three consecutive times(2016,2017 and 2018).

Ulinzi last won the league in  2015, and have now won the diadem nine times in the history.

The Warriors crushed out KPA in the semis while Thunder hammered EMYBA.

Apart from being the new champions, the soldiers will represent Kenya in the Basketball of Africa League (BAL)  second edition next year.

Ulinzi finished the regular league with 43 points having lost only one match while Thunder finished second with 41 points.

What had promised to be a good day turned into utter disappointment for Thunder after they dominated the first three quarters only to lose the last quarter horribly.

Thunder struck to win the first quarter 21-14 before claiming a 23-13 win in the second quarter  leading 44-27 by half-time.

After the break,  Thunder looked unstoppable as they registered a 16-14 win but Ulinzi came out of their closets to protect their territory shooting down Thunder 26-3 in the last quarter to emerge victorious.

Ulinzi had won Game Two and Three 123-106 and 99-51 respectively while Thunder had claimed Game One 75-73.

Thunder’s hitman Faheem Juma continued with his heroic performance scoring 26 points as captain Griffins Ligare scored 12 but this could not help them win.

Ulinzi captain John Washika  scored 13 points while Victor Bosire and James Mwangi scored 12 each.

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Washika attributed the victory to their tight defending.

“Intensity on the defense won us the game. We were down 20 points. We fought so hard and gave our all to recover. Byron Mabonga came from the bench and he took charge.

We are humbled as a team and we give thanks and praise to the Most High,” the humble Washika said.




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AFC Leopards hold leaders Tusker

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VICTOR OTIENO             

By VICTOR OTIENO            
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Kenyan Premier League leaders Tusker failed to make it five wins in five matches, as they settled for a barren draw with AFC Leopards at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Sunday.

Coach Robert Matano conceded the brewers did not play well.

“Our usual speed of attacking was not there. We improved in the second half, but still failed to score. It is not the result we wanted,” said Matano.

Leopards coach Casa Mbungo, who has served the club a two weeks notice over unpaid dues, said he was satisfied with the result because of the financial challenges facing the club.

“We have many problems, the training is not adequate so I thank God for the one point,” said the Rwandese.

The much-anticipated clash begun on an ugly note, after freelance journalist Seth Onserio was roughed up by a section of Ingwe’s supporters who accused him of writing negative stories about the club.

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And when things got thick for the scribe, he took refuge inside the Outside Broadcast (OB) van, which was transmitting the match live.

Tusker goalkeeper Robert Mboya almost paid heavily in the 10th minute for leaving his line early, as Vincent Oburu rounded him and sent a shot at goal but defender Marlon Tangauzi came to the brewers’ rescue.

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Leopards looked determined to return to winning ways, as they were on the front foot in the early exchanges with Hansel Ochieng missing a golden chance in the 18th minute.

Tangauzi attempted to put Tusker ahead with a long range effort in the 20th minute, but goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan was alert.

Captain Robinson Kamura thrilled hundreds of Ingwe’s supporters with a well worked free-kick in the 38th minute, which was saved by goalkeeper Mboya, as the visitors maintained their bright start.

Four minutes into the second-half, Tusker made the first change of the match, George “Blackberry” Odhiambo replacing Faraj Odenyi.

Leopards survived a scare in the 51st minute when Tusker’s David Majak flashed a cross across the face of goal but there was no yellow shirt to connect.

Moments later, substitute Odhiambo thought he had given Tusker the lead but his goal was cancelled for offside, before Austin Otieno saw his effort on the other end miss the target.

Oburu wormed his way past several legs inside Tusker’s box in the 79th minute, but failed to beat goalkeeper Mboya from a tight angle.

Tusker remain top of the table with 28 points while Leopards are ranked eighth with 19 points.

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