CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup defending Champions Kenya got off to a positive start, holding on to defeat rivals Tanzania in their group B game, thanks to Hassan Abdallah’s 15th-minute strike at the StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo on Sunday evening.
Whereas the other group B game between Zanzibar and Sudan was dire and slow, this one was electric and fast from the start. Tanzania nearly scored first inside the opening three minutes, but Miraji Madenge failed to connect well with Paul Nonga’s cross.
At the other end, Kenya opened the scoring through Hassan Abdallah’s solo run from the right, he beat three defenders before placing past goalie Aishi Manula in Tanzania’s goal.
Hassan should have added a second in the 15th minute, but the forward blazed his first time shot over the bar with only the keeper to beat.
By the half hour mark, despite the game maintaining its pacey nature, the pound for pound approach of the opening 10 minutes.
both sides failed to conjure up real goalmouth action, with the Kilimanjaro Stars settling for shots from range, one of those nearly got the better of Kenya shotstopper Samuel Odhiambo, but it was narrowly wide.
With halftime approaching, Tanzania head coach Juma Mgunda called for a change, Lucas Almeida Kikoni came off for Ditram Nchimbi.
After the restart, the game slowed down even more, as Kenya looked to run down the clock, which together with the numerous fouls from either teams meant the game had lots of stoppages.
The Harambee Stars could have added a second, striker Oscar Wamalwa raced through clear on goal, but his shot could only find the side net.
In the 87th minute, Kenya again had a golden opportunity to double their lead, Hassan Abdallah’s cross found Wamalwa unmarked inside the area, but his feeble shot was well collected by Manula.
The Kilimanjaro Stars almost drew level moments later, Joash Onyango caught out of possession, but Nchimbi failed to find the target.
Kenya held on to take all three points, and go top of Group B, after Sudan and Zanzibar played to a one all draw in the other game. Tanzania are now bottom of the log in the group.
The Harambee Stars come up against Sudan, while Tanzania will need to dig deeper against Zanzibar, both games will be played on Tuesday, December 10th.
Kenya XI: Samuel Odhiambo (GK), Joash Onyango (c), Lawrence JumaKevin Kimani, David Owino, Samuel Olwanide, Anthony Wambani, Oscar Wamalwa, Keneth Muguna, Johnstone Omorwa, Hassan Abdallah
Subs: Timothy Odhiambo (GK), Musa Masiko, Moses Mudavadi, Daniel Sakari, Whyvone Isuza, Andrew Juma, Clifton Miheso, Roy Okal, Timothy Otieno
Head coach: Francis Kimanzi
Tanzania XI: Ashi Salum Manula, Mzamiru Yasin Said, Miraji Athumani Madenge, Mwaita Salehe Gereza, Lucas Almeida, Cleophace Mkandla, Mohammed Hussein Mohammed, Bakari Mwamnyeto Nondo, Kelvin Patrick, Paul Nonga, Jonas Mkunde
Subs: Metacha Bonifance (GK), Hassna Shaban Dilunga, Robert Mapingano, Ditram Nchimbi, Juma Abdul Jafari, Gadiel Micheal Kamagi, Baraka Gamba Majogoro, Eliuter Mpepo, Nickson Kibabage
Head coach: Juma Mgunda