One for the Stars as Harambee humble Ghana at Kasarani
- Ten-man Harambee Stars held their nerves to edge Ghana’s Black Stars 1-0 in a delicately poised AFCON qualifier at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani to reignite their quest for a ticket to the 2019 continental showpiece.
- Kenya got the all-important goal in the 38th minute when Nicholas Opoku turned the ball into his won net under pressure from Stars danger-man Michael 'Engineer' Olunga .
Ten-man Harambee Stars held their nerves to edge Ghana’s Black Stars 1-0 in a delicately poised AFCON qualifier at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani to reignite their quest for a ticket to the 2019 continental showpiece.
Kenya got the all-important goal in the 38th minute when Nicholas Opoku turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Stars danger-man Michael ‘Engineer’ Olunga .
Stars were reduced to 10 men at the hour mark after Joash Onyango was red-carded for a foul on Ghana’s forward at the edge of the box, when the referee adjudged him to have denied the opposition a goal scoring opportunity.
In a knife-edge game that gave thousands of fans their fair share of the thrill, defender Philemon Otieno was withdrawn at half-time having picked an injury and in his place came the veteran no nonsense defender Joackins Atudo.
The lively contest lived to its billing with Ovella Oching, deployed on the right wing troubling the visitors with penetrating runs early in the first half, coming close in the 12th minute when his effort was thwarted by goalie Richard Ofori.
The win hauled Kenya’s points tally to 3, same as Ghana who blanked Ethiopia 4-0 in their group opening game.Kenya had succumbed to a shock 2-1 loss to lowly rated Sierra Leone in June last year; in their opener but the win now gives them momentum as the fight for tickets to next year’s showpiece set for Cameroon gathers pace.
The visitors had started brilliantly with Thomas Partey beating Philemon Otieno with a dummy to send Christian Atsu through on goal but the ball rolled too fast and the winger could only fire straight into keeper Matasi’s arms from a tight angle for an easy save.
Five minutes later, Ismael Gonzalez then did well to chest down the ball but his effort sailed wide off the mark.
As the game intensified, Ofori came far off his line to thwart Michael Olunga’s run yielding to an unsuccessful corner.
After the breather, Migne withdrew Eric Johanna and in his place came David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng to fill in for Onyango at centre half.
The goal came against the run of play with Francis Kahata leading a fast break then exchanging a string of passes with Olunga and then picking out Johanna across the wing.
The midfielder then swung a nice ball across the face of goal and Opoku could only stroke it into his own net with an attempted clearance, under pressure from the towering Kenyan forward.
The visitors came into the second half looking rejuvenated but it was Migne’s charges that threatened first again courtesy of Aboud Omar, Olunga and Johanna.
The two opened up some space deep inside the visiting defence but there was no one to attack Johanna’s cutback.
Ghana began to steadily build up the pressure in the opposite third and Stars compounded their chances when defender Joash Onyango was sent off for a last man challenge on Atsu.
The win is seen as a big boost for Stars and coach Migne who will be aiming at guiding the home side to their first Afcon finals appearance since 2004.
Kenya Starting XI
Patrick Matasi (GK), Abud Omar, Philemon Otieno(Joackins Atudo, Joash Onyango, Musa Mohammed, Ismael Gonzalez, Dennis Odhiambo, Francis Kahata, Eric Johanna, Ovella Ochieng, Michael Olunga.
Faruk Shikalo (GK), Eric Ouma, David Ochieng, Jockins Atudo, Anthony Akumu, Pistone Mutamba, Jesse Were
Ghana Starting XI
1. Richard Ofori 12. Andy Yiadom 4. Dan Opare 3. Nicholas Opoku 18. Daniel Amartey 6. Afriyie Acquah 8. Ebenezer Ofori 7. Christian Atsu 14. Edwin Gyasi 5. Thomas Partey 9. Majeed Waris
Lawrence Ati, Harrison Afful, Kwadwo Asamoah, Isaac Sackey, William Owusu, Raphael Dwamena, Rashid Sumaila
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