15 April 2019 03:22
Morocco’s RS Berkane thrashed Kenyan champions Gor Mahia 5-1 on Sunday night to progress to the Total CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals, going through 7-1 on aggregate having won the first leg 2-0 in Nairobi last weekend.
Berkane will now face CS Sfaxien in the last four with the Tunisians having beaten Nkana FC 2-0 in the earlier quarter final in Sfax to progress 3-2 on aggregate.
On a night that needed a huge performance from the Kenyans, Lawrence Juma had cancelled out Kodjo Fo dah Laba’s early goal to give some hope of a comeback, but the home side were not shaken as they took control of the tie with skipper Aziz Mohammed, Bakre El Helali Issoufou Dayo and Youssef Elsaiydy adding goals to the party.
Gor who arrived in Berkane just hours to kick off found themselves trailing after 21 minutes when Laba fumbled home a cross from Omar Namsaoui from the right beating keeper Fredrick Odhiambo at his near post.
Almost immediately, they should have made it 2-0 when Hamdi Laachir headed just wide unmarked inside the box off a Laba cross.
But three minutes on the turn, Gor Mahia equalized when Lawrence Juma slammed home a shot with his weaker left foot after Francis Kahata had done well to chest down Philemon Otieno’s cross for him.
With the scores now at 3-1 on aggregate, Gor looked charged for a comeback as they needed just two goals to tilt the tie to their advantage. But they could not match up the energy with Berkane going 2-1 up after 31 minutes when skipper Aziz headed home at the edge of the six yard box towering over Kenneth Muguna from a Namsaoui corner.
On the other end, Gor Mahia tried to race back into contention with Francis Mustafa’s shot from the edge of the box deflecting off a Berkane player to take the sting off and allow an easy gather for the keeper.
Immediately, Berkane went 3-1 up on the night, El Helali, who also scored in the first leg making the most of a slip by skipper Harun Shakava to race into the box and curl a right footed shot beyond keeper Fredrick Odhiambo.
Immediately, Shakava was hauled off by coach Hassan Oktay and his place taken by Joachim Oluoch in an apparent move to seal the defense.
Gor had defended nervously throughout the game especially on set plays and crosses, and were only lucky Berkane’s finishing was wanting.
The home side then put in two past Gor in the second half to seal the deal and turn the final 15 minutes of the game into a mere training session.
Another set piece in the 57th minute delivered Berkane’s fourth Dayo, also a scorer from the first leg nodding the ball home off a corner unmarked inside the box.
Gor seemed to have given up on the fight and merely danced to Berkane’s tune. Francis Kahata’s nifty footwork saw him get off his marker before laying the ball for Mustafa, but the Burundian forward could not hit the target.
Berkane who were taking things easy and passing the ball around the park like a Sunday League game came close to a fifth in the 73rdminute when substitute El Saiydy cited Laba with a well delivered cross from the right, but the burly forward tried scoring with a back-heel flick, the ball going wide.
El Saiydy however would crown a five-star performance for the home side with a goal in the final 10 minutes of the game.