Goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch was the only Kogalo player in the starting line-up as Kenya recorded an impressive 2-1 win over DR Congo. This follows a similar victory last year when Kenya beat the Congolese 1-0 in Kinshasa. The man of the moment was former Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga who struck twice. It was his strike that had also sunk the Congolese in Kinshasa. The first goal was especially spectacular as he picked up a pass on from Mandela on the left flank, turned a defender inside out and unleashed a rising shot with his weaker right foot. The second goal was due to good work by Owino Calabar who found fast rising Sammy Onyango. The latters cross was met by Olunga.
In the process, new coach Stan Okumbi continues to silence naysayers including this author. He has yet to lose a match since he was appointed Stars coach. Most fans wondered why a coach with no experience even coaching a KPL team was appointed.
Former Gor Mahia ace David Owino “Calabar” was also in the starting line-up while Kenneth Muguna was on the bench. Bad news for Gor Mahia fans comes in the form of Musa Mohamed’s injury which he picked up against Uganda Cranes.
As for Boniface Oluoch, he has been solid for the national team. But he was less than solid today and will now face intense competition from Patrick Matasi who got rave reviews for his performance against the Uganda Cranes. Twice it required a defender to make a goal line save. And twice, what looked like legitimate goals were disallowed by Kenyan referee Humphrey Omweno of the tear gas fame. See the highlights and judge for yourself.
Additional reporting from futaa.com
Harambee Stars put smiles on its supporters as two goals from striker Michael Olunga who was celebrating his birthday gave Stanley Okumbi’s side a 2-1 win over DRC Congo in a friendly played on Sunday 26 March 2017 at the Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.
The visitors were the first to produce threats but with the fans behind the home team, Harambee Stars did not take long before they stunned them with Brain Mandela picking Olunga who cut from the left flank and unleashed a fierce shot to give Stanley Okumbi’s side an early lead.
After the opening goal, both teams started to calm down with the game being balanced before Ikoko Jordan got himself in the referee’s book after a tackle on Johanna Omollo. Jesse Were curved in a nice freekick that found David Cheche who headed for a goal but goalkeeper Kiasumbua Joel kept the danger away. In the 27th minute, Kebano Neeksen’s tried to initiate an attack but Wanyama made a sliding tackle to disposes him off the ball. With the visitors looking for an equalizer, a moment of controversy came to place when the Congo players claimed the ball had crossed the goal post line but the centre referee waved the claims away.
Stars almost got a second but Sammy Onyango’s long range effort was tipped out by Congo keeper Kiasumuba Joel from a corner before Mandela headed the ball out. David Owino later connected Jesse Were’s cross to head the ball in but Kiasumbua was on alert to deny him a chance. With the first half almost finished, Junior Kabananga almost gave the visitors an equalizer but Boniface Oluoch made a nice save to deny him.
The second half saw the visitors come with a winning intent and Boniface Oluoch was lucky to see Kabananga’s shot go inches wide before saving a floated corner from Gael Katuka. The visitors continued to pile pressure on Okumbi’s side and they finally found a way when Mandela commited a foul outside the penalty area only for Gael Kakuta to give his side the leveler with a well-taken free-kick. Moments after the goal, Okumbi made his first change of the game; Johanna Omollo out, Paul Were in. Kakuta almost gave Kenyans a moment of scare when he looped the ball over keeper Oluoch but he was ruled for an offside.
However, it was Olunga on the mark again, this time being found by Samuel Onyango to find the back of the net and leave the opponents scratching their heads. With time ticking, Leopards almost found a leveler once more but veteran Joakins Atudo made sure none of that happened with a fine goal line clearance, after Bolingi Jonathan