Home Sports Olunga’s brace keeps Kenya in hunt for last-16 place

Olunga’s brace keeps Kenya in hunt for last-16 place

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CHARLES NYENDE

By CHARLES NYENDE
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Kenya’s Harambee Stars kept their hopes alive of progressing to the knock-out stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a gutsy 3-2 win over familiar foes Tanzania in a Group C encounter at 30 June Stadium here on Thursday night.

Harambee Stars came from behind twice before taking the lead for good late in the second half with a double strike from Michael Olunga.

The win gave Kenya three points and third place in the group and they will have all to play for the final round of matches on Monday against Senegal for second spot or best third loser to progress to the round of 16.

Kenya's forward Michael Olunga celebrates scoring his team's first goal during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Tanzania at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | JAVIER SORIANO |

Kenya’s forward Michael Olunga celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Tanzania at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | JAVIER SORIANO |AFP

Kenya's supporters are seen prior their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Tanzania at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | JAVIER SORIANO |

Kenya’s supporters are seen prior their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Tanzania at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | JAVIER SORIANO |AFP

Kenya's forward John Avire (left) fights for the ball with Tanzania's defender Hassan Ramadhan during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO |JAVIER SORIANO |

Kenya’s forward John Avire (left) fights for the ball with Tanzania’s defender Hassan Ramadhan during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO |JAVIER SORIANO |AFP

Tanzania’s first goal came out of nowhere. They won the ball from deep in their half and right back Hassan Ramadhani set off their danger man Genk’s Mbwana Samatta, whose pile drive was parried by Partick Matasi at full length and the lurking Saimon Msuva obliged with the loose ball to tap it in.

Kenya pressed forward with urgency and were duly rewarded when Olunga, with a close range overhead kick from close range sent the ball home on 37 minutes.

Tanzania replied almost immediately, the speedy Samatta breaking loose on the right flank to power the ball home with Kenya’s rear guard in sixes and sevens.

Kenya's defender Abud Omar Sfantu (left) fights for the ball with Tanzania's forward Thomas Ulimwengu during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | KHALED DESOUKI |

Kenya’s defender Abud Omar Sfantu (left) fights for the ball with Tanzania’s forward Thomas Ulimwengu during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | KHALED DESOUKI |AFP

Johana Omollo restored parity for Kenya on 61 minutes powerfully heading home a well worked corner by Ayub Timbe and Aboud Omar .

Olunga got his second in fine fashion and Kenya’s lead for the first time in the match, getting on the end of a flowing move to beat the busy Tanzania goalkeeper Aishi Manula with a grass cutter.

It proved to be the match winner.

Kenya's coach Sebastian Migne looks on during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Tanzania at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | JAVIER SORIANO |

Kenya’s coach Sebastian Migne looks on during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Tanzania at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | JAVIER SORIANO |AFP

Kenya will feel the two goals conceded were soft but it all came down to poor marking and poor ball anticipation which improved considerably in the second half of a match well competed.

Kenya's midfielder Ayub Timbe (left) fights for the ball with Tanzania's defender Gardiel Michael during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO |JAVIER SORIANO |

Kenya’s midfielder Ayub Timbe (left) fights for the ball with Tanzania’s defender Gardiel Michael during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO |JAVIER SORIANO |AFP

Migne made three changes to the team that lost against Algeria, starting David “Calabar” Owino in place of Philemon Otieno at right back and Johanna Omollo and Erick Ouma in midfield in place of Dennis Odhiambo and Eric Omondi.

Tanzania's forward Mbwana Samatta (right) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Kenya at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | KHALED DESOUKI |

Tanzania’s forward Mbwana Samatta (right) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match against Kenya at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | KHALED DESOUKI |AFP

This was a much better performance for Kenya after a poor show in their opening match.

A noisy band of travelling Kenyan fans were at the stadium to cheer the Stars, one group to the left of the main stand and another on their other end.