Harambee Stars struggle to beat Taifa Stars

by Juma Pondamali

Kenya’s Harambee Stars kept their hopes alive of progressing to the knock-out stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a struggled 3-2 win over ndeighbours Tanzania in a Group C encounter on Thursday night.

Japan-based striker Michael Olunga scored a brace as Harambee Stars came from behind twice before taking the lead late in the second half.

The win gave Kenya three points and restored hopes in the fledgling side that was beaten by Algeria in the opening match.

Harambee Stars will have all to play for the final round of matches on Monday against Senegal for second spot or best third loser to progress to the round of 16.

Tanzania’s were the first to score when Genk’s Mbwana Samatta, whose pile drive was parried by Partick Matasi at full length and the lurking Saimon Msuva obliged with the loose ball to tap it in.

Kenya pressed forward with urgency and were duly rewarded when Olunga, with a close range overhead kick from close range sent the ball home on 37 minutes.

But Kenyans had hardly celebrated when Tanzania replied almost immediately with the speedy Samatta breaking loose on the right flank to power the ball home with Kenya’s rear guard in sixes and sevens.

Johana Omollo restored parity for Kenya on 61 minutes powerfully heading home a well worked corner by Ayub Timbe and Aboud Omar .

Olunga got his second in fine fashion and Kenya’s lead for the first time in the match, getting on the end of a flowing move to beat the busy Tanzania goalkeeper Aishi Manula with a grass cutter.

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