An impressive defensive display coupled with time wasting from the visiting Sudan helped them hold Kenya’s Emerging Stars to a goalless draw and qualify for the 2019 Africa U2-3 Cup of Nations third round qualifiers in the return leg played at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Wednesday.
Sudan, coached by former Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards Croatian coach Zdravko Logarusic, advance with a 2-0 aggregate score and will now face Nigeria in the final round in June.
Nigeria saw off Libya 4-2 on aggregate in the reverse tie played in Abuja on Tuesday.
Kenya Under 23’s Ovella Ochieng (left) dribbles past Sudan’s Osman Yaser during their 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations cum 2020 Olympic qualifier match on March 26, 2019 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |NATION MEDIA GROP
The aggregate winner will book a ticket at the eight-team tournament in Egypt November this year.
“My boys were motivated, that’s the spirit I instil in my teams, but Kenya is a very good team,” said Sudan coach Logarusic.
“In this tournament you must score at home and that was their main undoing, they had three clear chances which they should’ve put away,” he added.
His opposite number Francis Kimanzi was disappointed after his charges failed to put the ball behind the net after 180 minutes.
“Compared to the first leg, I think today we created so many scoring chances but were unlucky not to convert,” he said.
“Of course the boys looked to be a little bit under pressure because we were chasing the game,” added the Mathare United coach.
Kenya Under-23 coach Francis Kimanzi follows proceedings during their 019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations cum 2020 Olympic qualifier match against Sudan on March 26, 2019 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Sudan had the first shot on target through Hussein Mohammed, whose low strike a minute into the game was gathered by Timothy Odhiambo in the Emerging Stars’ post.
By the 11th minute, the Kenyan juniors were pressing high, but wasted two of their corners, before James Mazembe swung in a cross from the right flank with Johnson Omurwa the target, but the Mathare United defender headed wide on 12 minutes.
Kenya Under-23 player Mike Kibwage (on the ground) is consoled by Sudan’s Moumen Esam at the end of their 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations cum 2020 Olympic qualifier match on March 26, 2019 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The Sudanese backline led by Ahmed Alnour and Ammar Mohamed made everything possible to frustrate the Kenyan attackers with first time clearances.
Ovella Ochieng’s 26th minute free kick from the edge was easily picked by Sudan custodian Mohammed Saleed.
The Kenyans had a penalty appeal turned down on 35 minutes after Ovella was brought down by Hussein Mohammed, but the Madagascan referee Andofetra Rakotojaona would hear none of it much to the chagrin of a handful crowd that had bothered to make it to the stadium on a hot afternoon.
Kenya Under-23 player David Owino (left) is tackled by Sudan’s Adam Abdalla during their 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations cum 2020 Olympic qualifier match on March 26, 2019 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Pistone Mutamba splashed a glorious chance four minutes before the break when his feeble shot from a James Kinyanjui auspicious cutback was easily cleared by the Sudanese defence and Ibrahim Shambi’s rebound flying over the bar.
Ovella Ochieng forced Sudan goalkeeper Mohammed Saleed to a fingertip save with a 52nd minute free kick from the right flank.
James Mazembe floated in the resultant corner kick that Sydney Lokale’s attempted flick header ended up in Ibrahim Shambi’s feet, but the Ulinzi Stars midfielder blasted wide with an empty net at his mercy.
On 62 minutes, Yagoub Mohamed beat the Kenya defence from a counter, but his shot was picked by Timothy Odhiambo as the Sudanese sat deep to frustrate their opponents.
Ovella, Pistone Mutamba and Sydney Lokale all had chances to reduce the deficit but neither could find the target.
Kenya lineup: Timothy Odhiambo (GK), Yussuf Mainge, David Owino, Johnson Omurwa, Michael Kibwage, Sven Yidah, Ibrahim Shambi (Teddy Osok 81’), James Kinyanjui (Sydney Lokale 46’), Ovella Ochieng, James Mazembe (Curtis Wekesa 71’), Pistone Mutamba
Sudan lineup: Mohammed Saleed (GK), Ahmed Alnour, 14. Hussein Mohammed 2. Ammar Mohamed 30. Abdalla Adam 20. Gafar Elnour 3. Ibrahim Hamad, 11. Aabakar Mugadam 10. Hassan Abashar 21. Hassan Abakar Hamid Adam (Siddig Alzobair 67’), Yagoub Mohamed (Mohamed Esam 77’) 12. Mohan Hanwa 6 Gumaa Abbas 13 Musab Mohamed, 15. Walid Ibrahim 4. Ammar Mohamed (Osman Yaser 55’)