Harambee Stars stretched their unbeaten run under head coach Stanely Okumbi to 11 matches as they battled to a barren stalemate against visiting Malawi Flames at the Machakos Stadium, Tuesday afternoon.
Stars, using the match as part of preparation for the 11 January - 2 February, 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) which they'll host, did OK in a team which was made up of locally-based players only.
The visitors enjoyed a lion share of the possession in both halves but didn’t trouble the Kenyan backline with it although the home fans felt uncomfortable with the dominance if the jeers on the stands were anything to go by.
As far as the opening half was concerned, Malawi were the better side on the ball as they found spaces to operate, especially during the early minutes where Kenya hardly had a kick. However, it was the hosts who got sight of goal as both Simon Mbugua and Kennedy Otieno aimed feebly at visiting keeper Ernest Kakhobwe who easily gathered.
Centerhalves Jockins Atudo and Robinson Kamura then almost produced Kenya’s opener with the AFC Leopards man’s freekick at the far post finding the Posta Rangers captain whose header went just wide, but he was already offside.
Samuel Onyango, an established figure in the Harambee Stars set up now, had the game’s first clear chance when, unmarked, he let fly from outside the area but missed target by a foot. Malawi created their first chance a minute later with Gilbert Chirwa also directing his header off the target.
Cavin Odongo missed the best chance of the half as he skied with only one man, and the keeper to beat, having benefited from a back pass gone wrong.
The only other notable events of an even half was Onyango’s booking after tripping his marker and the substitution of Darius Msagha whose national team debut was ended with Dan Mwaura replacing the Bandari man.
The second half chances came as fast as they were wasted. Matasi was called to action 10 minutes after the restart as he parried Simeon Singa’s left-footed drive. Onyango almost got the opener immediately but his scuffed effort missed the target by a hair’s breadth while Otieno had an effort cleared off the line.
The first of a flurry of substitutions saw Amos Asembeka replace Cavin Odongo while Brian Birgen replaced an injured Simon Mbugua. Morven Otinya, and Chrispinus Onyango all got a taste of the action but none of them came close to giving Kenya the advantage.
Malawi especially looked dangerous following the introduction of youngster Dalitso Sallesi who created two chances for his number 9 Muhammad Sulumba who couldn't get past an effective but under-employed Matasi.
The latest draw makes it six in total for Okumbi in the 11 matches, the other five ending in victories.
Kenya Starting XI: 1. Patrick Matasi (GK), 2. Jockins Atudo ©, 5. Robinson Kamura, 13. Bolton Omwenga, 23. Simon Mbugua, 26. Duncan Otieno, 19. Victor Majid, 8. Samuel Onyango, 18.Kennedy Otieno, 25. Darius Msagha,10. Calvin Odongo
Subs: 32. James Saruni (GK), 27. Brian Birgen, 15. Collins Odhiambo, 12. Geoffrey Kataka, 6. Shami Mwinzi, 11. Daniel Mwaura, 21. Morven Otinya, 15. Chrispinus Onyango, 17. David Mwangi, 14. Amos Asembeka, 9. Masita Masuta
Malawi Starting XI: 1. Enerst Kakhobwe, 6. Davie Banda, 2. Stanley Sanudi, 3. Francis Mulimbika, 5. John Anjesi, 7. Luck Malata, 9. Muhammad Sulumba, 11. Kelvin Hanga, 12.Chimanga Kaira, 17. Gilbert Chirwa, 18. Simeon Singa
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