Tag Archives: super cup

GOR MAHIA VS USM ALGER: A LOOK AT K’OGALO’S STRONG AND NOT SO STRONG POINTS

What a pleasant surprise to see Gor Mahia out of the preliminary stages and into the next round of the CAF Champions League.

For a minute there, after a goalless draw between K’ogalo and Aigle Noir in the first round of the preliminary stages, I was a bit worried about their chances of moving on to the next round. Honestly, I was a lot worried, not just a bit.

But, yes! They did it, and they did it so emphatically that now they are looking like a major threat in this premier African soccer tournament.

5 goals to 1 read the scoresheet once the final whistle was blown.

5 goals to 1!

It feels so good writing that, I had to do it twice.

K’ogalo and Kenyan fans, in general, have a lot to thank Nicholas Kipkirui for. His hattrick on this special day has propelled us a step closer to the group stages of the CAF tournament. He was a threat to the Burundian opponents from the first minute of the game, and his sustained attacks earned him a place on the scoresheet twice.

Now that we have done away with Aigle Noir, we move on to our next opponent, USM Alger. The last time that Gor played against this team was during the group stages of last season’s CAF Confederation Cup. Gor lost to the Algerians 2-1 on aggregate and were subsequently knocked out of the competition.

If the Kenyans can manage to beat this Algerian team this time around, Gor would have earned its place in the group stages of the CAF championship for the first time in the tournament’s history.

Their chances might improve significantly as reports have emerged that the Algerian team might not be able to continue with their CAF Championship journey due to financial constraints.

However, this does not mean that Gor should rest easy. If the matches proceed, then the Kenyan side needs to be ready as ever to exact revenge on the Algerians for last season’s thumping in the CAF Confederation.

K’ogalo

Strong Points

  • Threat at goal

Gor was impressive at goal in the second round of the preliminary stages, and I hope they can show the same excellence going forward.

I’m praying that Kipkirui can replicate his performance against the Burundians when playing against USM Alger in their upcoming CAF first-round match. Now, that will be a pleasure to watch!

unnamed

There is also the brilliant new signing, Dickson Ambundo, who managed to add his name to the scoresheet during his full debut as a Gor player. He also provided the assist to Omondi’s goal.

Boniface Omondi who was lethal as a midfielder against Aigle Noir, providing an assist as well as scoring the fifth goal for his team, should also be in excellent form to put the much-needed pressure on the Algerian defense.

He did have a chance to open the scoring at the beginning of the game and give his team the earliest of leads, but, he squandered the opportunity. I hope he will not be as wasteful in the upcoming match against the Algerians.

Hopefully, Francis Afiriye will be better at threatening goal than what we witnessed during the match against Bandari.

Areas to Be Concerned About

  • Defense

Aigle Noir were finally able to score a consolation game in the 77th minute mainly because of a miscommunication between the defense. This can prove quite catastrophic against a strong team such as USM Alger, which is bound to take swift advantages of such opportunities whenever they present themselves.

The defense, under the capable leadership of Joash Onyango, needs to bring its A-game against the Algerians. Any porosity on this end and Gor’s goose is cooked for sure!

Gor Mahia have just recently signed their new goalkeeper, David Mapigano, and he has been playing well as witnessed in his performance against Aigle Noir in the CAF preliminaries, and against Bandari in the Super Cup final.

We’ll just have to wait and see if he has the mettle to withstand  Alger’s threatening forwards including the likes of Aymen Mahious, and Oualid Ardji. These two were critical to their team’s defeat over Sonidep of Nigeria in the 2nd round of the CAF preliminary match.

  • Midfield

Not too much to worry about here as the new defensive midfielder, Tobias Otieno, impressed in the Super Cup final. He has the speed that Ernest Wendo lacks, which is a good thing, as it helps temper the opponent’s counter-attack, as well as helps on the break.

The only issue with the former Sony Sugar midfielder is that his timing when it comes to tackles is a problem, and as seen in their match against Bandari, this will result in several bookings if he does not improve on his timing.

He and Muguna should also work on improving their communication, and perfecting their passes for a more effective midfield collaboration.

 

With those few remarks, it’s going to be an entertaining round of matches to watch as September unfolds. Good luck to Gor Mahia.

 

But…

we are yet to determine if the Algerians will be able to make it to their match with Gor, so, K’ogalo fans can breathe easy for the moment, and just focus on the KPL.

SOCCER BLOG (1)

ARSENAL VS TOTTENHAM: LESSONS LEARNT FROM LIVERPOOL LOSS

Yes, I know. We lost to Liverpool 3 goals to 1. It sucks! We were on such a high, having won the first two games of the season. We were reaching for the stars. It was a wonderful start. We were getting there; we could do this, and by this, I mean win our matches back to back from the start to the end of the season.

And, why wouldn’t we have such hope? We had just brought in ‘superstar’-level players in our ranks unlike previous seasons under Wenger. Our top scorer last season was hitting the ground running with two goals in two games; our midfield was becoming stronger thanks to the addition of Ceballos, a box-to-box midfielder with Cazorla-like qualities; our defense was seemingly getting stronger with the added expertise of David Luiz.

But, it all came undone last Saturday when we lost 3 goals to 1. It would have been much worse, I’m sure because as you know, this is the LIVERPOOL! The current Champions League and Super Cup holders. The scariest team in the EPL right now because of their pace, defensive prowess, midfield tenacity, and lethal attack!

So, yeah, we did not have much hope going into this game, and I feel sorry for any naive Arsenal fan who thought we could come out of the game with a point, or even three 🙂

I’m just glad we did not lose as badly as the other few times we’ve played against Liverpool. That is my only consolation at the moment.

I am also glad that our loss to this formidable team was not as pathetic as Manchester United’s loss to Crystal Palace. 🙂

That being said, there are some areas that I hope have been improved upon before our game tomorrow with another difficult team, Tottenham.

  • Defense

Here, I’m mainly talking about David Luiz. His performance in this match was a far cry from the leadership quality he exhibited in our match against Burnley.

The second half especially was horrible for the defender, raising a lot of doubt as to whether he has the right mind frame to be a leader at Arsenal’s backline.

Grabbing Salah’s shirt like that in a bid to stop his attack was plain immature and unprofessional. And we paid heavily because of his actions as the referee awarded Salah a penalty…arrrgh!

images (1)

I think we’ve just caught the first glimpses of why people refer to Luiz as a loose cannon.

For Salah’s second goal, you really cannot blame Luiz for being unable to defend him, because Salah is that good. However, the other defenders should have fallen back to offer additional support for both Luiz and Leno.

One more performance like this from Luiz, to add on to our already super-fragile defense, and we are going to need a miracle to make it even to the top five teams at the end of the season.

  • Style of play

Truth be told, we did not choose the right defensive style of play for this particular game.

We chose a high line style of play, which is mainly used against teams that love to possess and pass the ball a lot. It is ineffective against a team that is prolific in fast-break soccer as is the case with Liverpool.

Being caught left-footed by the Liverpool forwards and wing midfielders is probably why Luiz out of frustration for not being able to catch up with Salah, opted to pull at the forward’s shirt instead, in a bid to stop him from moving forward.

It’s probably why he could not intercept the ball during the build-up to Salah’s second goal.

Once Liverpool instituted the fast-break, our high line plus their immense pace made it difficult, if not almost impossible to keep Liverpool’s attack at bay.

  • Shooting Accuracy

Maybe if everything behind was working as planned, then the forwards would have much better chances at scoring.

But, that does not negate the fact that Arsenal had 9 shots at goal, 3 on target, but failed to convert most of these, aside from Torreira‘s goal late in the game.

Our shooting accuracy was at 33.3%, not bad when you compare it to Liverpool’s 20%, but they had 3 goals and we had 1. We definitely need to improve on this.

Nicholas Pepe would do well to improve his shooting accuracy. He had the best chances to score in the first half and would have probably saved the match for us if he had converted those chances.

  • Indecisive New Signings

Our new signings were not as impressive in this match as they were against our first two opponents.

Ceballos, for instance, shined in the match against Burnley, to the point that he was declared the man of the match. Against Liverpool, though, he was practically mute! How does that even happen?

As mentioned above, Pepe wasted a couple of chances in front of goal, which were, by the way, our best chances at getting at least a draw in this match.

Also mentioned is Luiz’ complete malfunction during this match, the total opposite of how he performed against Burnley.

So, yes! Our new signings might still need a little more time to settle in…sadly, time is a luxury we do not have at the moment.

 

 

 

That’s all I have for now; come back and let’s compare notes after the #ARSTOT game tomorrow.

Ciao!

SOCCER BLOG