To many fans who traveled to the Kasarani Stadium, a Kenya win was unlikely, at least a draw is what many expected.
The Harambee Stars came out of the tunnel as underdogs with Ghanian stars including Thomas Partey on their shoulders. But then, the home crowd cheered the boys, gave them hope and belief that they could pull a result at home, and they did just that.
It is a match that began with the homeboys pinning their guests at the back, but poor deliveries from rising star Ovella Ochieng spared the Black Stars. Ochieng who’s pace bothered Andy Yiadom could have found the killer pass to Starman Michael Olunga in the 5th minute of the game but he did not make a quick decision, letting the ball race out.
Olunga who was boxed out in most of the time nearly caught out Ofori in the 13th minute of the game but he failed to drop down the ball intended for him by Gor Mahia right back Philemon Otieno. Ghana would then rise to the occasion this time round Newcastle’s Christian Atsu taking on the entire Stars defence but Denis Odhiambo was on time to clear the danger for a fruitless corner.
Ovella would then switch flanks with Francis Kahata and this somehow changed the dimensions as Stars started passing the ball better and faster, and it was in the 42nd minute that the breakthrough was found courtesy of an own goal by Daniel Opoku.
The center back lashed the ball into his own net after he miscued an Eric Johanna’s cross intended for Olunga.
Kenya would be reduced to ten men in the second half when Joash Onyango brought down Thomas Partey. It was a risk that the Gor Mahia center back had to take as the Atletico Madrid forward was clear on goal.
Patrick Matasi (GK), Abud Omar, Philemon Otieno, Joash Onyango, Musa Mohammed, Ismael Gonzalez, Dennis Odhiambo, Francis Kahata, Eric Johanna, Ovella Ochieng, Michael Olunga.
Faruk Shikalo (GK), Eric Ouma, David Ochieng, Jockins Atudo, Anthony Akumu, Pistone Mutamba, Jesse Were
Richard Ofori (GK) Andy Yiadom, Dan Opare, Nicholas Opoku, Daniel Amartey, Afriyie Acquah, Ebenezer Ofori, Christian Atsu, Edwin Gyasi, Thomas Partey, Majeed Waris
Lawrence Ati, Harrison Afful, Kwadwo Asamoah, Isaac Sackey, William Owusu, Raphael Dwamena, Rashid Sumaila