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By VINCENT OPIYO
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Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) have warned champions Gor Mahia to expect a tough encounter Sunday afternoon when the two sides face off at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

Gor will be making a return to the local scene after failing to retain the SportPesa Cup in Dar es Salaam.

Gor, who’ve won two SportPesa Cup in the last two years, were eliminated on penalties by minnows Mbao FC at the quarter-finals before flying back on Thursday.

The clash against the bankers, the 15th between the two sides with Gor having won nine times, will be preceded by the match pitting 2009 champions Sofapaka against Zoo Kericho as the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) enters week nine.

Leaders Mathare United entertain cash-strapped Vihiga United at Kasarani Stadium aiming to extend their unbeaten run to nine games in this transitional 2018/19 campaign.

The Slum Boys, who top the standings on 20 points, two ahead of second-placed Bandari, the latter away in Dar es Salaam for the invitational SportPesa Cup, beat Vihiga 2-1 in their first meeting last season before drawing 1-1 in the second leg.

K’Ogalo sit sixth on the 18-team standings with 13 points, six ahead of 16th placed KCB who have a single win this season.

This will be the penultimate league fixture before they welcome Egyptian giants Zamalek in round one of the Caf Confederation Cup group “D” tie next Sunday.

Gor put six past the bankers in the last match played in August 2015 at the Nyayo National stadium before the Ruaraka-based outfit was relegated from the top tier that season.

“We are prepared well both mentally and physically,” KCB captain Michael Kibwage said on Saturday. “We respect the fact that they are the reigning champions but we will take the game with the seriousness it deserves just as we do in every other games,” added the former AFC Leopards centre-back.

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“We hope for a better outing because we aim for three points in every league match.”

Gor captain Harun Shakava said their objective is to close the gap between them and leaders Mathare United.

“We need to bag these points before shifting focus to the Sony Sugar game in midweek so with six points we can rise up the standings,” said Shakava, who featured in the team’s 4-1 win over bottom-placed Mount Kenya United in the last league clash.

Seventh-placed Sofapaka face Zoo Kericho in a match that interim boss John Baraza will be looking for another astute defending from his charges.

Baraza, on his second stint as the interim manager, recorded his first win as Batoto ba Mungu boss with a 1-0 triumph over Posta Rangers last weekend and is confident of extending the smooth run.

“I am happy with my defence because we’ve not conceded in two games now unlike before,” Baraza noted.

FIXTURES (All matches kick-off at 3pm unless stated)

Sofapaka v Zoo Kericho (Kenyatta stadium, Machakos, 2pm)

KCB v Gor Mahia (Kenyatta stadium, Machakos, 4.15pm)

Ulinzi Stars v Kakamega Homeboyz (Afraha stadium)

Nzoia Sugar v Mount Kenya United (Sudi stadium)

Sony Sugar v Posta Rangers (Awendo Green Stadium)

Mathare United v Vihiga United (MISC Kasarani)



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