HARAMBEE STARS HUMBLED: Zambia beats Kenya 2-1 at Nyayo stadium
They came in large numbers donning the Kenya national team colours, but left the Nyayo National Stadium disappointed after the Chipolopolo of Zambia rallied from a goal down to beat Harambee Stars 2-1 in a Group E 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers match, yesterday.
Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga scored his first national senior team goal in the 13th minute, but Winstone Kalengo cancelled out the opener before Collins Mbesuma strike on the hour handed the visitor a comfortable 2-1 halftime lead.
"We didn't deserve to lose. This is a a poor result for us, we conceded very soft goals. They had some two brilliant strikers, but my defenders really tried hard to contain them ad their players wasted time. It is just our second game and I am still optimistic," said Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson.
"This was an eye opener and we have seen our mistakes. We played very well in our first game, but today it is not our day. It was not terrible defending, but just a loss of concentration," added assistant coach Musa Otieno.
But for their Zambian counterpart George Lwandamina, experience worked out for them. "It is a great thing going forward. Getting three points in such a crucial match is not easy. I commend the boys and more so the new calls for showing character. It is because of our experience and enjoyment that broke their strategy," said Lwandamina.
The match started on a high tempo with Kenya threatening first in the second minute, but Dennis Oliech's cross from the left was easily picked up by Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene before Michael Olunga's long range shot went wide.
In the 11th minute, Paul Were was fouled by Bendict Chepesi at the edge of the box but Ayub Timbe's resulting free-kick missed target by inches.
The hosts continued pilling pressure and two minutes later their efforts were rewarded with Olunga latching onto Dennis Odhiambo's long ball to beat Mweene.
The former African Champions responded immediately but the burly Mbesuma saw his effort go wide before Harambee Stars goalkeeper Arnold Origi pulled a double save denying Jack Chirwa from a close range.
In the 27th minute, Kenya coach Bobby Williamson was forced to make an early sub bringing in Noah Wafula after Were limped off after sustaining what looked like a hamstring injury before unmarked Kalengo unleashed a powerful strike that flew past Origi.
Seven minutes later, Kalaba shrugged off David Owino challenge, dribbled into the box but shot wide before Collins Okoth's effort went directly into Mweene's hands.
Zambia doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime after Mbesuma beat Origi with a powerful low shot.
After the break, Olunga could have levelled for Kenya through a header from Ayub Timbe's corner kick but was denied by Boyd Mkandawire's goal line clearance .
Kenya made their second substitution with Johanna Omollo replaced Collins Okoth in the 55th minute before Allan Wanga came on for Oliech after the hour mark.
The Belgian based midfielder had a chance in the 84th minute, but his long range effort went wide before Dennis Odhiamb's effort was deflected into a fruitless corner.
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