THE WAIT IS ON

Harambee Stars long wait for an away win in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers continues after Sierra Leone halted their nearly a dozen match unbeaten run, beating them 2-1 in Freetown on Saturday.

Julius Wobay scored in the first half and skipper Umaru Bangura added a second from the spot with Michael Olunga scoring Kenya’s late consolation.

Despite taking time to settle into the match, Kenya had the best of scoring opportunities before the hosts broke the deadlock. Debutant Massoud Juma wasted a glorious 17th minute opportunity when one-on-one with goalkeeper Solomon Morris after picking a pass from Olunga.

For the missed opportunity, Kenya was punished four minutes on the turn. Wobay met a cut back from Kei Kamara on the left and shot first time and despite Boniface Oluoch having a touch on the ball, it hit the inside of the upright before rolling into the net.

Kenya captain Victor Wanyama came close to making an immediate response but his header hit the crossbar after racing to meet a free-kick from Eric Johannah.

The visiting Harambee Stars continued creating chances but failed to utilize them. In the 34th minute, Johannah had a chance from a free-kick but he sent it straight to the keeper.

 Two minutes later, double open scoring chances again went begging. Wanyama’s shot from a Johannah pass was blocked by Morris and Olunga struck the crossbar with a rebound.

Five minutes to the break, bad was to turn to worse for Kenya with defender Brian Mandela being sent off for a rush tackle on Alhassan Kamara as the last man in defence.

In the second half, Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi made a change necessitated by the red card, bringing in David Ochieng for Massoud.

The Leone Stars found a way to maintain the tempo and in the 56th minute, Alhassan came close to adding a second but he slipped as he pulled the trigger after meeting a cross from the right.

On 70 minutes, the hosts went 2-0 up from the spot after Kenya leftback Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma axed Kamara inside the box, and Bangura stepped up to convert home.

Olunga gave Kenya some hope in the 75th minute when he wonderfully curled home a freekick from the edge of the box for what turned out to be the consolation.

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