Kenya v Egypt Match Report, 25/03/2021, Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

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Kenya 1-1 Egypt: Harambee Stars fail to qualify for Afcon

The East African nation needed to win their remaining qualifiers to book back-to-back slots but with the draw, their journey has ended

Kenya’s hopes of qualifying for yet another Africa Cup of Nations finals are over after a 1-1 draw against Egypt at Kasarani on Thursday.

A goal from  Mohamed Magdy ensured the Pharaohs joined Comoros from Group G as Togo and Kenya see their journeys come to an end. Abdallah Hassan scored the goal that ensured Egypt and Kenya drew 1-1 yet again.

Kenya, who were already under pressure after Comoros drew against Togo to qualify, found themselves in a difficult position when they conceded in the second minute. Magdy scored the goal that propelled Egypt to yet another Afcon podium while pushing Harambee Stars to the exit door.

A nice run by Bandari’s Hassan – who surprisingly got the nod to start ahead of Cliff Nyakeya – in the 19th minute ended up not being a fruitful move for the Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee’s side as Kenneth Muguna, who was the target, was unable to tap home from close range.

Kenya stabilised as the game edged towards the half-hour mark but were yet to test the Egyptian goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenway with a tangible threat. But in the 24th minute, Anthony Akumu, who marshalled the midfield in the absence of Victor Wanyama, attempted a long-range shot in the 24th minute but El-Shenawy was equal to the task.

Johnstone Omurwa, who has enjoyed some trust from Mulee in the past two games, was Kenya’s stand-out defender in the opening minutes as he did well to shut out mainly Trezeguet and at some points Liverpool’s star Mohamed Salah.

Harambee Stars had the ball in the net in the 39th minute when Masoud Juma outwitted two Egyptian markers before he slotted past El-Shenawy – who was under considerable pressure then – but the goal was cancelled for offside.

As the first half was edging towards the end, Kenya looked more lively especially through Hassan who had manoeuvred past Mohamed Hany on two occasions but the final passes into the box were cleared. 

Apart from Wazito’s Omurwa, Eric Ouma and Muguna stood out for Kenya in the latter stages of the first half as they pushed the Pharaohs’ deep into their area in search of an equaliser.

El-Shenawy was called to action when Michael Olunga shot from a tight angle in the 46th minute as Harambee Stars started the second half on a high. Salah picked an advanced Magdy in the 48th minute but the forward was blocked by Ian Otieno who closed in on the opponent to save Kenya from conceding the second.

Mulee made a change in the 57th-minute when he withdrew Kaizer Chiefs’ Akumu for Nkana FC’s Duke Abuya in what was a tactical substitution that was meant to sharpen Kenya’s attacking edge against the Pharaohs who looked jaded before the hour mark. The change saw Juma join Olunga as a second striker as Abuya moved to operate from the wings.

Kenya engineered an ambitious run in the 62nd minute as Ouma, who was now venturing in the attacking area more, picked Hassan on the far wing with a high cross but the Bandari winger saw his header fly high.

Hassan’s hard work was rewarded with a goal in the 67th minute when he went past El-Shenawy under a crowded penalty area. Kenya won a corner that was delivered by Abuya and Olunga’s shot was blocked before the ball landed in Hassan’s path.

Miheso – a late call-up – was brought on in the 69th minute for Juma while Nyakeya came on for an impressive Hassan as Harambee Stars were on the ascendancy. Immediately, Nyakeya picked Olunga inside Egypt’s area but the Al Duhail SC’s star was let down by his first touch as a clear chance for Kenya went to waste. 

Harambee Stars, after their call for a penalty was denied in the 71st minute, were reduced to 10 men after Omurwa was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident.

Kenya withstood the pressure and this ensured they denied the Pharaohs a win yet again after a 1-1 draw in Egypt during the first group encounter in November 2019.

Kenya XI : Ian Otieno, Daniel Sakari, Eric Ouma, Joash Onyango, Anthony Akumu, Johnstone Omurwa, Kenneth Muguna, Lawrence Juma, Abdallah Hassan, Masoud Juma, Michael Olunga.

Subs : James Saruni, Nahashon Alembi, Harun Mwale, Duncan Otieno, Duke Abuya, Cliff Nyakeya, Kelvin Kimani, James Mazembe, Elvis Rupia, Kelvin Simiyu.

Egypt XI : Mohamed El-Shenawy, Mohamed Hany, Mahmoud El-Wensh, Ahmed Hegazi, Ahmed Ayman Mansour, Tarek Hamed, Hamdi Fathi, Mohamed Magdy Afsha, Mohamed Salah, Trezeguet, Mostafa Mohamed,

Subs : Ali Gabr, Abdallah Gomaa, Omar Gaber, Elneny, Mostafa Fathi, Ahmed Sayed, Mohamed Farouk, Mohamed Sherif, Hossam Hassan.

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