Harambee Stars moved close to booking a place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals with a convincing 3-0 win over Ethiopia in round four of the qualifiers played at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday, October 14.
Star striker Michael Olunga, play maker Eric Johanna and skipper Victor Wanyama scored the goals that kept Stars hot on the heels of group leaders Ghana ahead of their crunch final day decider in Accra next month.
Japan-based striker Michael Olunga sent the mammoth crowd to wild jubilation on 23 minutes with a silky left foot curler that sailed into the far post after one two passes with Eric Johanna, who doubled the lead five minutes later.
Captain Victor Wanyama put the scores beyond the Walya Antelopes’ reach with a 64th minute penalty after Johanna had been tugged down by Ahmed Reshad.
Ethiopia had their first attempt on 12 minutes through Getaneh Kebede, whose rasping shot from the edge of the box went begging.
Olunga almost netted a brace five minutes after restart after dispossessing goalkeeper Samson Assefa only for his goal-bound shot to be cleared by Ahmed Rashid for a fruitless corner.
Ouma’s cut back targeting Olunga fell to Johanna invading from the right flank before being being fouled by Ahmed to prompt referee Ahmed Imtehaz point to the spot as Wanyama sent Assefa the wrong side silencing a few Ethiopian fans.
Victory for Kenya, their 15th in 44 meetings against the 1962 continental champions, stretches their lead on Group “F” to seven points, three ahead of second-placed Ethiopia, while four-time champions Ghana are third on three points similar to suspended Sierra Leone.
Should Sierra Leone fail to comply with the Fifa conditions by the next round of fixtures mid next month, then they will be expunged from the qualifiers, hence sealing Stars’ return to the continental stage after a 14-year hiatus.