Gor Mahia laboured to a 2-1 win against New Star of Cameroon in the first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup match played on Sunday.
The East African side had been relegated from the Caf Champions League after falling to Lobi Stars of Nigeria on the away goal rule as compared to their counterparts, who have been taking part in the same competition.
Signs were encouraging from the first whistle for the Kenyan champions, and Francis Mustafa could have done better when he was slipped in the danger zone, but his effort came off the post.
The home team looked disjointed at some point and carelessly lost possession in promising positions. New Stars settled well, but opted to play cautiously to at least get a point from this game.
However, the visitor’s plan was short-lived when Lawrence Juma found the back of the net with five minutes to the break. It was a goal that brought some life into the Gor Mahia side, but the hosts were not in the mood of conceding the second.
After wasting several good chances, K’Ogalo were forced to pay for the mistakes when Benjamin Benchem hit the equalizer with twenty minutes left. It was a good move that was made possible by concentration and defensive lapse as well by the whole team.
It was not over though as Jacques Tuyisenge managed to squeeze in the winner with about five minutes to go, to ensure his side goes into the second leg with a slim lead.
The Hassan Oktay led side will now need a draw of any kind to progress into the group stages of the competition for the second season running.
Gor Mahia XI: 29. Boniface Oluoch, 26. Philemon Otieno, 6. Shafik Batambuze, 15. Joachim Oluoch, 27. Charles Momanyi, 20. Ernest Wendo, 8. Francis Kahata, 24. Lawrence Juma, 11. Boniface Omondi, 23. Francis Mustafa, 9. Jacques Tuyisenge.
Subs: 1. Fredrick Odhiambo, 5. Pascal Ogweno, 4. Wellington Ochieng, 3. Samuel Onyango, 10. Cercidy Okeyo, 22. Erisa Ssekisambu, 25. George Odhiambo.