By Kimathi Kamau NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Ten-man Kenya’s Harambee Stars stunned Black
Stars of Ghana 1-0 with a spirited performance here on Saturday
to revive their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying hopes from
Group F to the Cameroon finals.
An own goal by
Nicholas Opoku made the difference in the match where Kenyan
defender Joash Onyango was sent off just after the hour mark to
set a tense finish in Nairobi.
Victory put Kenya at
the summit of Group F alongside Ghana despite trailing on goal
difference pending the result between Ethiopia and Sierra Leone
in Addis Ababa with both nations on three points.
It was a dream debut
for Frenchman Sebastian Migne who took charge of Stars for the
first time in a competitive match since being named head coach
in May as his team held on for victory in a back-to-the-wall
performance against the 2010 World Cup quarterfinalists and
three-time African champions.
Kenya got off to an
encouraging start when midfielder Ovella Ochieng got first shot
on target in the fifth minute but Ghana custodian Richard Ofori
was equal to the task.
Waris Majeed got the
first attempt for Ghana in the 13th when he latched
onto a through ball from Christian Atsu but his shot went
Atletico Madrid FC
midfielder Thomas Partey was next with an attempt on goal but
Stars keeper Patrick Matasi gathered easily.
Soon after the game
resumed following injury to a Kenyan defender in the 26th,
Atsu was at it again when he unleashed a left footed shot from
the edge of the penalty area which Matasi held on to.
In the 35th,
the break through came when Eric Johanna found Japan-based
Olunga who forced Opuku into kicking the ball past his keeper to
spark frenzied celebrations.
Kenya continued to
defend well and pick out a couple of good passes, until the
referee blew for the halftime break with the score 1-0 to the
Both teams made
changes at the break with Edwin Gyasi being replaced by Raphael
Dwamena for the Black Stars as experienced Jockins Atudo joined
the fray in place of Philemon Otieno who seemed to have picked
up an injury.
Seven minutes into
the second half, Abud Omar found Ochieng on the right flank with
a beautiful pass that the latter brought down perfectly but his
attempted pass to Olunga was intercepted.
quickly got into the thick of things with a header that rose
over the bar from a Ghanaian free kick in the 56th.
The Johanna and
Olunga connection continued to cause problems for the visitors
as a couple of good passes led to an opportunity that was
blocked by a last inch tackle in the box.
Kenya were reduced
to 10 men in the 61st when Onyango recklessly
Migne had to
immediately change his tactics as he took off attacking
midfielder Eric Johanna and brought on defender David Ochieng.
Olunga went down
injured with less than 10 minutes on the clock, after receiving
treatment the game went on with the Kenyans desperately looking
to hang onto the lead, which would be their first win in Group
replaced David Odhiambo in the 90th as the dream of a
victory against Ghana started becoming more of a reality.
Stars will face
Malawi on Tuesday in a friendly match at the same venue before
back to back group matches against Ethiopia in October in a
double header that could well define their quest of returning to
the AFCON finals for the first time since Tunisia 2004.
Tanzania hold hosts Uganda 0-0
in 2019 AFCON qualifier
KAMPALA (Xinhua) --
Uganda Cranes and visiting Tanzania Taifa Stars settled for a
goalless draw in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier
played at Ugandan National Stadium, Namboole on Saturday.
The game graced by
Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga saw the home side
dominate the Group L game, but fail to find the goals.
Okwi and Joseph Benson Ochaya all had chances to score for
Uganda, while Tanzania’s captain and Belgium based professional
Mbwana Samatta also had some chances.
The draw keeps
Uganda on top of the group with four points, while Taifa Stars
secured their second point to move to second place.
“It is unfortunate
that we failed to collect maximum points at home. But we shall
continue to work hard to make sure we qualify for AFCON again,”
Uganda Cranes captain and goalkeeper Dennis Onyango told Xinhua
after the game.
Tanzania’s new coach
and former Nigerian international Emmanuel Amunike was a happy
man after the game.
“I have only been
with the team for 10 days and they followed instructions to get
this important point,” Amunike told Xinhua.
Uganda Cranes will
next host Lesotho on Oct. 9, while Tanzania will play away the
same day to Cape Verde.