BY SAMSON MBII,10TH OCT 2018-The national soccer team Harambee Stars held hosts Ethiopia to a scoreless draw in their third 2019 AFCON Qualifiers Group F game in a clash played at the Bahir Dar Stadium on Wednesday 10 October.
With Sierra Leone eliminated from the group with the FIFA ban, Ethiopia’s win over them in September was rendered null and the hosts needed to give their all against Stars but their start didn’t give a picture of a team in need of points.
The first scare of the match came courtesy of Michael Olunga with his header after an Abud Omar cross being parried out by Samson Asefa for a fruitless corner. Ethiopia’s response came in the 15th minute with Gathuoch Panom’s free kick missing the target by a whisker and Olunga was to sting Asefa’s palms in the 20th minute after being put through by Victor Wanyama; the keeper parried the ball before collecting comfortably the rebound brought in by Francis Kahata.
The improving Kenya had a perfect opportunity to take the lead in the 25th minute with Eric Omondi finding himself with the only keeper to beat after being put through by Olunga but the IF Bromma player blazed his effort wide.
Olunga and Philemon Otieno were booked in quick succession as Ethiopia built on their game with the hosts having Abebo Reshad booked a minute to the break for diving. The booking came after Dawa Hottesa had been booked for bringing down Abud Omar as the half ended with the teams at par.
Ismail Gonzalez was brought in for Eric Omondi at the start of the second half with Eric Ouma being introduced for Abud Omar who picked a knock in the 55th minute but it was the hosts who started the second half in superb fashion with Patrick Matasi forced to two superb saves in the initial minutes after resumption.
In a bid to boost their attack, the hosts withdrew Beneyam Demte for Omod Okwury in the 66th minute and they almost took the lead a minute later with Bekele Godo hitting the post with Patrick Matasi well beaten. Migne sent Paul Were in for Francis Kahata in the 73rd minute
Substitute Okwury had a chance with a ferocious shot 11 minutes from time from a free kick then Kebede Gibeto forced Matasi to a smart save two minutes later as the hosts’ pressure continued to pile.
Ethiopia sought a late winner by pulling out Nesfen Bolado for Keinan Markine six minutes from time but even the additional five minutes did them no favors as Kenya held on for a precious point with Wanyama being yellow carded late in the game for time wasting.