Mozambique punish wasteful Harambee Stars
- Canhembe Amancio's lone goal was all Mozambique needed to silence Harambee Stars 1-0 at home, in a match of several wasted chances at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani
- Francis Kimanzi, in only his second match in charge since the exit of Sebastian Migne could not pull the strings, with Egypt next on his list of opponents
Canhembe Amancio’s lone goal was all Mozambique needed to silence Harambee Stars 1-0 at home, in an international friendly match of several wasted chances at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
Francis Kimanzi, in only his second match in charge since the exit of Sebastian Migne could not pull the strings, with Egypt next on his list of opponents in the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifier.
Stars started off strongly pressing the visitors into their own half within the first five minutes, with flawless passes traded between Captain Victor Wanyama, Lawrence Juma, Clifton Miheso and Cliff Nyakeya giving a hungry Micahel Olunga good time in the opponent’s goal.
Olunga had his shot from close to 35 yards easily collected by Mozambique custodian Frenqie Julio Pedro in the seventh, before threatening again in the 13th minute this time round his thunderous shot missing the target.
Three minutes later, the Kashiwa Reysol man lost his markers inside the box but could not control the bal for the final shot, the slippery surface hindering his intentions following a downpour just before the kickoff.
He instead rolled the ball to find a racing Wanyama whose shot failed yo penetrate a forest of Mozambique defenders.
In the 26th, a quick Nyakeya burst ahead of Junior Zainadine and unleashed a powerful shot just outside the box, forcing the goalkeeper to punch it but to Olunga’s path. Before he could finish it off, the busiest man of the match thus far, Pedro, leapt onto the ball to the safety of the Mambas.
With eight minutes to the break, Nyakeya picked Olunga in the middle of the box, only to connect directly to the so alert keeper Pedro.
All along, the partnership of Joash Onyango and Joseph Okumu in Stars’ centre back, for the fisrt time ever, was effortlessly smothering Mozambique’s few attempts.
Kariobangi Sharks man Samuel Olwande, who was trusted for the right-back spot that has been played by five different players from the 2019 African Cup of Nations, was having trouble to stop Edmilson Gabriel who appeared to have mastered how to unlock him.
Mozambique got their fisrt conner in the 41st minute, and momentarily sustained the pressure on Kenya’s box giving debutant Farouk Shikhalo a real test with strikes from Quembo Witiness and Fait Artur respectively.
Shikhalo was not as relaxed as Kenyans used to see him between the posts for Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Bandari, before he joined Tanzania’s Yanga. He almost cost Stars by coming 30 yards off his territory and failed to clear the ball he was chasing.
As if they were waiting to sting at the tail end of the fisrt half, Mozambique camped in Stars’ final third until centre referee Israel Mpaima whistled to the break at 0-0.
Upon resumption, Olunga needed only two minutes to unsettle the Mozambique defense but his smooth cross across the goal had no one to finish.
Stars head coach Kimanzi then threw Duke Abuya into the fray, withdrawing Miheso who was quite lost as the match wore on. He would then introduce Zesco United hitman Jesse Jackson Were, for Gor Mahia Captain Kenneth Muguna with the goal hunt mission now the main business.
Despite Stars’ dominance for the better part, it was the visitors who would draw the fisrt blood in the 66th, a moment of individual brilliance by Amancio who danced around Kenya’s defense paying off to make it 1-0.
The party was now spoilt. From the terraces directly behind Kenya’s technical bench fans frantically demanded for Whyvonne Isuza on the pitch, and Kimanzi heeded withdrawing Nyakeya.
A brilliant day it was for Pedro, who did well to successfully deny Olunga and Isuza within 30 seconds of turbulence in the goal. He had seen Were waste a promising rebound over the bar, with the keeper already misplaced.
A fight for at least a share of spoils was a battle in futility as Mozambique retreated to guard their goal to the end.
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