SportPesa Premier League rivals Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards on Sunday played out to a 1-1 draw in a charged Mashemeji derby at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Meddie Kagere struck the equaliser to cancel out an earlier own goal by Gor skipper Musa Mohammed.
Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr opted to stick with his attacking trio of Kagere, Jacques Tuyisenge and George Odhiambo with Leopards tactician Robert Matano also starting with Ray Omondi, Alex Kitenge and Vincent Oburu as both coaches went for an early goal.
Winger Samuel Ndung’u, midfielders Victor Majid and Duncan Otieno and defender Dennis Sikhayi put up an outstanding performance especially in the first half, as Gor’s midfield gem Kenneth Muguna appeared somewhat subdued for the better part of the game.
Mohammed turned the ball into his own net while attempting a clearance off Ndung’u shot after 19 minutes, much to the delight of the Ingwe faithful at Nyayo Stadium.
Gor, who were dominant until this point, were stunned by the goal which was well crafted by the Leopards.
Oburu received a long ball from goalkeeper Gabriel Andika before beating his markers and squared the ball onto the path of Duncan Otieno. Otieno then released Ndung’u, whose first time shot was redirected by Mohammed into his own net.
This was only the second time AFC Leopards have scored a goal with Boniface Oluoch in Gor Mahia goal, since the Kenyan international crossed from Tusker two-and-a-half years ago.
With the lead and their fans roaring again, Leopards had a few quick chances to extend their lead but fell short before Kagere levelled matters with nine minutes to the break.
From an aerial threat, Leopards defender Robinson Kamura fell down, allowing Kagere the easiest of tasks while clear on goal, and the Rwandan mad no mistake as he continued to torment their bitter rivals.
Chances in the second half of the match were few and spread apart even as both teams struggled to gain advantage over their opponents.
Kagere could have scored a second goal in the 71st minute, but Andika did well to stop the striker from extending his fine run.
Matano said he was happy with the result, although he encouraged his players to step up their performance as no one in the team is guaranteed of a position in his starting lineup.
“We played our level best today. I think most players gave their best and I cannot complain. Day by day, the team is getting better because players have realised that to get a starting role they must work had for it,” said Matano.
“There is also a bit of consistency in the team right now, every player is coming to training every day, unlike when I came where some players weren’t turning up for training and that is also something that has boosted our performance.”