Olunga strikes as troubled Stars hold Egypt

The towering striker fired home with about 20 minutes to go and earned Harambee Stars of Kenya a valuable point in Group G.

Kenya’s Harambee Stars held Egypt to a 1-1 draw in the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 qualifiers on match day one in Alexandria, Egypt.

Mahmoud Kahraba scored the opener for the Egyptians in the opening half, but Kenya equalized in the second half through Michael Olunga’s fine strike.

Kenya’s head coach, Francis Kimanzi, was forced to make two injury enforced changes in the first half. Keeper Patrick Matasi was substituted after just nine minutes when he picked up a knee injury as he took a goal kick.

Stars were later forced to pull out Ayub Timbe after he also picked up a knee injury and was replaced by Cliff Nyakeya. Timbe had Kenya’s best chance of the game when he took on a brilliant solo run but his shot from inside the box was saved by the keeper.

Olunga had another chance when he shot from inside the box after dummying two defenders but the effort was straight to the keeper.

Egypt broke the deadlock in the 41st minute when Kahraba raced to a short backpass from defender Eric Ouma to substitute keeper Ian Otieno, blocking his first clearance before tapping into an empty net.

But Kenya were unfazed and in the second half, with an improved performance to try and get back into contention. And they did just so after 61 minutes when Cliff Nyakeya did well to win the ball inside the box before teeing up Olunga who fired home.

Egypt almost got back into the lead in the 78th minute when Otieno spilled a scorcher from Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan, but the ball amazingly did not cross the line with Joseph Okumu clearing. The spills fell on Kahraba whose shot was blocked again by Samuel Olwande.

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