Kenya’s Harambee Stars kept their hopes alive of progressing to the knock-out stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a gutsy 3-2 win over familiar foes Tanzania in a Group C encounter at 30 June Stadium here on Thursday night.
Harambee Stars came from behind twice before taking the lead for good late in the second half with a double strike from Michael Olunga.
The win gave Kenya three points and third place in the group and they 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 first goal came out of nowhere. They won the ball from deep in their half and right back Hassan Ramadhani set off their danger man 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.
Tanzania replied almost immediately, 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.
It proved to be the match winner.
Kenya will feel the two goals conceded were soft but it all came down to poor marking and poor ball anticipation which improved considerably in the second half of a match well competed.
Migne made three changes to the team that lost against Algeria, starting David “Calabar” Owino in place of Philemon Otieno at right back and Johanna Omollo and Erick Ouma in midfield in place of Dennis Odhiambo and Eric Omondi.
This was a much better performance for Kenya after a poor show in their opening match.
A noisy band of travelling Kenyan fans were at the stadium to cheer the Stars, one group to the left of the main stand and another on their other end.