Kenya relinquished their Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup title at the quarterfinals stage after going down 5-3 on post match penalties to Rwanda’s Amavubi.
The two sides battled to a barren draw at normal time, sending the match straight to penalties. Rwanda slotted all their spot-kicks past Kenyan keeper Boniface Oluoch, while Eric Johanna saw his effort saved by Celestin Ndayishimiye as the Wasps booked a semifinal clash with Sudan.
It marks the end of a shaky campaign for Bobby Williamson’s side whose progress to the quarters needed a mighty helping hand from Uganda.
Stars were quickly labelled pre-tournament favorites after beating record champions Uganda 2-0 in their Group B opener and then drawing 1-1 with Burundi but that is as sweet as it got as they almost exited the competition after losing their final group match 3-1 to Zanzibar.
Quick off the blocks
They had a superb start with Jacob Keli forcing Ndayishimiye to a fine save with a header inside the first minute. Rwanda then conceded two corners in quick succession which Kenya failed to utilize. Oluoch was alert on the other hand, thwarting the Wasps from point blank range after a lovely build up in the tenth minute.
Gor Mahia forward Olunga received his first booking of the tournament in the 17th minute when he deliberately handled the ball inside the box as he tried to give a rendition of Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘hand of God.’
Kenya continued to threaten with Miheso, Keli and Eric Johanna all coming close before the hour mark. However, the Rwandese looked more sharp in front of goal and Oluoch was again forced to pull off a fine stop from Yussufu Habinimana while Olunga saw his overhead kick go wide as the two sides went to the break deadlocked.
Oluoch called into action
Rwanda were the first to threaten after the interval with Oluoch coming off his line to collect a dangerous ball from Rwanda captain Jacques Tuyisenge just four minutes after the restart. Ndayishimiye was then quick off his line to stop Olunga from scoring his third goal of the competition at the hour mark, while Mugiraneza and Habimana both saw their teasing balls inside the Kenya danger area go to waste.
More half chances continued coming Harambee Stars way but Keli and Olunga failed to get power behind their strikes towards goal. Bobby Williamson made his first change after 84 minutes, Jesse Were coming on for a tiring Clifton Miheso before Ali Abondo replaced Keli three minutes later.
However, the fresh legs could not help Kenya win the tie in normal time, sending the match to penalties which the 1999 champions won.
Rwanda will meet Sudan in the semis after the Falcons edged neighbors South Sudan 5-3 on post-match penalties.
The other semifinal clash will see hosts Ethiopia battle record champions Uganda.
Scored: Haruna Niyonzima, Jacques Tuyisenge, Djihad Bizimana, Isaie Songa, Celestin Ndayishimiye
Scored: Noah Abich, David Owino, Jesse Were
Misses: Eric Johanna
Ethiopia vs Uganda
Rwanda vs Sudan
Kenya Starting XI: Boniface Oluoch (GK), David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng (C), David ‘Calabar’ Owino, Noah Abich, Omar Mbongi, Collins Okoth, Antony Akumu, Eric Johanna, Clifton Miheso, Jacob Keli, Michael Olunga
Subs: David Okello (GK), Musa Mohammed, Kevin Kimani, Ali Abondo, Christian Bwamy, Jesse Were, Kevin Amwayi
Rwanda Starting XI: Celestin Ndayishimiye (GK), Abdul Rwatubyaye, Faustin Usengimana, Fitina Omborenga, Yannick Mukunzi, Djihad Bizimana, Dominique Nshuti, Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, Yussufu Habinimana, Jacques Tuyisenge (C)
Subs: Olivier Kwizera (GK), Ivan Senyage, Jean-Claude Iranzi, Haruna Niyonzima, Fiston Munezero, Isaite Songa, Ernest Sugira
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