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Mali thrash Kenyans in Deaflympics tie

OLYMPICS By Ochieng Oyugi | September 16th 2021
Gasper Asituha (Left) of Mali contest for ball with Bashir Yahye of Kenya during their Africa Deaflympics Ball Games Qualifiers at Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi on September 15, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Kenya lost 4-2 to Mali in a six-goal thriller at the ongoing Africa Deaflympics Ball Games Qualifiers at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The visitors found the back of the net through Mamadou Coulibaly (brace), Keita Dida and Seydou Cissouma to bag the victory.

Kenya pulled two back through captain Yahye Bashir via penalties.

The loss means Kenya has been bundled out of the championship that seeks to produce a continental representative for the 2022 Deaflympics Games in Brazil.

Coulibaly shot with precision from the left flank in the opening minute, and his screamer went past Kenya's custodian Thor Mwai to give Mali a 1-0 lead.

The goal caused more harm to the shaky hosts defence which saw Moussa Ballo beat the indecisive Kenya's left back a minute later, but his low right foot shot missed the target by a whisker.

Flavian Oluya almost found the back of the net for Kenya in the 12th following his brilliantly crafted move from the right corner post.

Oluya's finishing was easily picked up by Mali's custodian Dramane Camora who stood solid in between the posts.

Kevin Njagi's screamer from the centre field was successfully punched off two minutes later by the hawk eyed Camora.

Camora again blocked Isaac Shiundu's shot from outside the box, dampening spirits of the few fans at the venue.

In the 30th, Domnic Ruto beat Mali's midfield but he shot wide.

This was followed by a headed corner kick by

Philip Kirui which was punched away by Camora.

In the 34th, Kennedy Kilonzo's left flank shot was blocked by Camora.

Dida headed in a Mamadou Traore's left corner kick to take Mali's tally to 2-0 in the 37th before the sides went for a breather.

Kenya resumed the battle rejuvenated in second half.

This saw Bashir pulls one back for hosts through a converted penalty in the 47th to narrow the gap to 2-1, after Oluya was brought down in the box.

Titus Kipkales free kick that hit the cross-bar in the 51st almost leveled the scores for the hosts.

Kenya was awarded a second penalty in the 56th, which was successfully converted by Bashir to level the scores 2-2, after the captain was brought down in the box.

Mali started to pile more pressure in the 63rd, putting Mwai to task, especially against Dida who was goal thirsty.

Laxity in Kenya's defence gifted Mali with two quick goals in the 71st and 74th, which were slotted in by Seydou Cissouma and Coulibaly to give Mali the 4-2 victory.

Kenya generally lacked composure in the opening half, losing most balls in the midfield, but the hosts performance in the second half was commendable.

Meanwhile, Libya were awarded a walk over Ghana after the latter arrived late for the games.

Ghana jetted into the country on Tuesday night.

They declined to honour their fixture with Libya on Wednesday citing jet lag.

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