Harambee Stars dimmed by minnows CAR in friendly

Harambee Stars dimmed by minnows CAR in friendly

Harambee Stars dimmed by minnows CAR in friendly

Olunga /File photo

Ten-man Harambee Stars were beaten 3-2 by the Central African Republic in a friendly match played in Marrakech, Morocco on Tuesday evening. Michael Olunga’s goal with seven minutes left counted as just mere statistics with CAR having gone ahead with second half goals from Eudes Dagoulou and Momi Hilaire having scored in the second half.

Stars were reduced to 10 men after right back Ismail Gonzalez was sent off for bad-mouthing the referee.

The Kenyans now leave Marrakech with tainted confidence having drawn 2-2 with Comoros on Saturday, another team ranked lower than them.

Had it not been for goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, Kenya would have soaked more goals. The Posta Rangers keeper made three superb stops in the first half to keep Stars in the game.

It was a positive start for Kenya with Ayub Timbe who was handed a start showing some flashes of his brilliance with a seventh minute shot that flew wide. Four minutes later, the winger missed the ball by inches when he slid into the box to pick out an Olunga cutback.

Against the run of play, Kethevoama volleyed CAR into the lead. David Manga picked the ball on the left after Kenya lost possession cheaply on the left and swung in a cross with no one on his trail.

Eric Johannah however responded immediately with a composed finish inside the box after Olunga cut back the ball to him from the left when CAR defender Nicaise Zimbori blocked his initial shot.

Kethevoama almost made it 2-1 in the 21st minute when he noticed Matasi off his line, but the Kenyan custodian back-peddled to tip the ball behind for a corner.  Matasi made another great save at his near post nine minutes to the break when he did well to save an effort Dagoulou.

The Posta Rangers custodian produced another stellar stop four minutes later when Kethevoama’s corner was brushed to Zimbori’s direction who headed it strongly on target, but an alert Matasi parried it away.

Second half

In the second half, Okumbi started off by bringing in Clifton Miheso for Timbe while Were was also rested for Samuel Onyango.

Stars almost took the lead early on but CAR keeper Geoffrey Lembet made a great save to prevent an imminent own goal pushing the ball to the crossbar after Saint Cyr Ngam-Ngam brushed it behind as he attempted to clear a cross.

Substitute Onyango also came close in the 57th minute when Omar’s freekick from the left found him isolated at the back-post but his volley came off the woodwork.

The CAR side however pounced on another chance and made it count, Dagoulou heading strongly unmarked inside the box from Manga’s cross.

Just like they did after the first goal Stars sought to give an immediate response but Olunga’s shot was saved by the keeper when he connected to substitute Patillah Omotto’s cutback.

CAR benefited from a lousy penalty in the 70th minute when Hilaire went down easily from a tussle for the ball with skipper David Owino inside the box. The substitute stepped forward and converted the spot kick himself.

Six minutes later, Kenya’s day went from bad to worse when Gonzalez was sent off dissent. Olunga hit a low left footed shot in the 82nd minute, but Kenya could not amass energy for a winner.

Kenya who are ranked 105 stand to lose more FIFA ranking points after losing to a lowly ranked CAR (121) and drawing with Comoros (132) in the next release.

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Read more on : Harambee-Starlets

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