International friendly match: Starlets pip Ethiopia in tie
Youngster Gentrix Shikangwa came off the bench to score a last gasp penalty as a new-look Harambee Starlets beat Ethiopia 3-2 in yesterday’s international friendly match, at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.
The Wiyeta Girls forward slotted in the match winner after an Ethiopian defender was adjudged to have hacked down brace queen Mwanalima Adam in the box. Harambee Starlets fielded an inexperienced side, with Adam, Corazone Aquino and captain Dorcas Shikobe the only senior players retained from the previous team.
Both teams were using the match to prepare for their upcoming two-legged Olympics qualifiers against Malawi and Cameroon.
Kenya will start their 2020 Tokyo qualification campaign with an away match against Malawi in Blantyre on August 28 before the return leg in Nairobi on September 4. Ethiopia will also battle with giants Cameroon in a two legged encounter.
“We are still building a new team, but so far I am pleased with what I have seen in the friendly match. Offensively we are perfect, what we need to work on is our defense,” said Starlets coach David Ouma.
“Seeing a young player like Shikangwa perfectly executing a penalty tells you a lot the character of this team. We are going to work on our mistakes before we travel to Malawi.”
Ethiopia twice came from behind with Mirkat Ayele and Serkadis Kidane goals cancelling out Adam’s brace before the Thika Queens forward earned a penalty that was converted by Shikangwa.
Adam put Starlets in front in the 11th minute against the run of play when he dribbled past the two central defenders in the box before unleashing a low shot at the far post that beat goalkeeper Balcha Tarikua.
The visitors started pressing and pushing forward seeking for an equaliser as the game progressed, but the Dorcas Shikobe led back line kept the marauding Ethiopian strikers at bay.
Adam could have grabbed her second goal on the half hour mark but the Thika Queens star missed a sitter.
Corazone Aquino then squandered a precious scoring chance from Cynthia Shilwato’s delivery as Kenya headed into the break leading by a solitary goal.
Topista Situma nearly doubled the lead four minutes into the second half, but his effort was cleared off the line by one of the opposing defenders.
Ethiopia responded immediately through Mirkat Ayele’s brilliant curler that left goalkeeper Annette Kundu stranded.
Sensing the danger, Kenya coach David Ouma reacted swiftly by making a double change bringing in Janet Bundi and Sheryl Angachi for Shilwato and Situma respectively.
The substitutions nearly paid off immediately as Kara Meskerem almost conceded an own goal.
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