Gor Mahia held highly rated Esperance to a scoreless draw in the first leg of Caf Champions League in Machakos on Wednesday.
The 1987 Mandela Cup champions bettered the 2014's 3-2 home defeat to Esperance with a draw that left Dylan Kerr requiring a simple score line draw away in Tunis to progress to the money bracket.
The home side squandered three clear chances in the first half, opportunities that could have changed the dynamic of the game courtesy of Jacques Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere.
Tuyisenge rattled Esperance goal with a ferocious shot from inside the box in the 18th minute, but the striker was denied by the right post before the visitors’ defence cleared the ball for a corner-kick.
The Kenyan champions blew away another golden chance six minutes later after Kagere’s right-foot shot from a tight angle hit the post.
Another header from Gor Mahia missed the target by a few inches with Esperance custodian well beaten and the defence watched lazily as the ball rolled to safety.
The last two minutes of the first half produced a tensed moment for Gor Mahia fans when Esperance claimed a penalty in the 43rd minute after opposing player was brought down in the box, but Egyptian referee, Gehad Geresha waved play on.
Gor Mahia dominated the opening match with 51 ball possession but the home side could not find the back of the net.
The opening half was fast and K’Ogalo’s persistent attack forced Esperance to retreat in their backline, occasionally going forward only when it was convenient for them.
Kerr pulled out Francis Kahata for Kevin Omondi with George Odhiambo and Philemon Otieno paving way for winger Samuel Onyango and Bernard Ondiek respectively to strengthen his midfield in the second half.
Unlucky Kagere was denied once again in the second period when his powerful header was punched by the hard working Esperance keeper.