Stars, Ethiopia shoot blanks in Bahir Dar


Stars, Ethiopia shoot blanks in Bahir Dar
Francis Kahata, receives instructions from head coach Sebastian Migne during their International friendly match at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on September 11, 2018. Kenya won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/sportpicha

In Summary

  • Harambee Stars will need at least one win of the remaining two Group F matches of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier, after registering a barren draw against hosts Ethiopia on Wednesday, in Bahir Dar
  • Kenya now top the group with four points, having beaten four-time Afcon champions Ghana in the second qualifier tie last month in Nairobi by a solitary goal. 
  • With fourth group Members Sierra Leone out of the race after world football governing body FIFA pronounced a ban on them last week, Kenya's chances to return to the continental showpiece are more realistic

Harambee Stars will need at least one win of the remaining two Group F matches of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier, after registering a barren draw against hosts Ethiopia on Wednesday, in Bahir Dar.

Kenya now top the group with four points, having beaten four-time Afcon champions Ghana in the second qualifier tie last month in Nairobi by a solitary goal.

With fourth group Members Sierra Leone out of the race after world football governing body FIFA pronounced a ban on them last week, Kenya’s chances to return to the continental showpiece are more realistic.

A win on Sunday against the Walya Antelopes when the two teams lock horns at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani for the return leg will see Kenya through.

With two changes executed by head coach Sebastian Migne for Ethiopia from first the team he paraded against Ghana in September, Kenya struggled to make impact in the match played in a fully packed 60,000 capacity Bahir Dar stadium.

 

 

After a dull start of the first quarter hour, Eric Johanna wasted a glorious opportunity shooting wide with only goalkeeper to beat, after erratic defending by the Aelopes defense.

In the 26th minute a beautiful play by Ovella Ochieng in the right flank bore Johanna another chance but could not beat the custodian.

Just at the half-hour mark, a brilliant trading of passes in the box by Ethiopia forwards ended in futility when Shemeles  Bekele blast the ball wide off target.

In the 42nd minute, a late challenge by Dawa Hotesa on left back Aboud Omar saw the defender limp off momentarily before returning with signs of pains.

Just before the break, Michael Olunga thought he had given Stars the lead after connecting a scores Dennis Odhiambo pass, only to be ruled offside.

Ethiopia responded quickly but could not finish off their move with Abedo Reshad diving in the box, and was consequently booked.

At resumption, Migne brought on Spain based midfielder Ismael Gonzalez for Eric Johanna, before introducing Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma for injured Omar seven minutes later.

Aboud Omar of Harambee Stars in action against Liberia during their FIFA International friendly match at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on November 15, 2016. Kenya won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

In the 53rd, a good run by Bekele was thwarted by an alert Mandela for an unfruitful corner, before returning with yet another promising attempt after being set up by Abdulkerim Mohammed, only to rattle the woodwork.

Ethiopia was now commanding proceedings fully. An industrious Bekele floated in a sumptuous cross in the box in the 70 th, but a keen Patrick Matasi rose high to punch it out.

Seeking to add more mettle in the attack, Migne threw in Paul Were for Francis Kahata, with Ethipia attacking enthusiastically.

Matasi heroics denied Getaneh Kebede who shot from a close range with eight minutes on the clock, to keep Stars in the game.

Despite camping in the Kenya’s half for the rest of the proceedings, Migne’s charges held on to force the draw that leaves them three points away from the 2019 tournament.

Additional reporting Jeremiah Lechipai

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