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Harambee Stars stun Qatar in Doha friendly

Kenya's Elvis Rupia battles for the ball with a Qatari defender. PHOTO/QSL
  • Kenya won the match 2-1
  • Substitute Amos Nondi scored the winner
  • The game was played at the Al Janoub Stadium in Doha

Super-sub Amos Nondi tapped in the winner in the 91st minute as Kenya’s Harambee Stars stunned Qatar 2-1 in a friendly match played at the Al Janouba Stadium in Doha on Thursday night.

Skipper Michael Olunga provided the assist for the winner, as Kenya picked up a hugely boosting victory against the reigning Asian Champions.

Olunga was delighted with the performance of the team, saying they showed character in a difficult match.

“It was a fantastic game, difficult game against a good Qatar side. They played really well but as a team we showed character. The tempo of the game was high and I am super proud of the collective effort the team had. I am happy for the performance. We started well and finished well, scoring in the last minute,” Olunga said after the match.

Qatar had to come from a goal down, skipper Hassan Al Haydos scoring from the penalty spot after Joseph Okumu’s header had given Stars the lead.

It had been an interesting start to the game, with Qatar attacking from the onset, but it was Kenya who had the closest of chances, in a match where they felt at home with a very huge Kenyan fan base coming out in large numbers to support them.

Olunga with a brilliant early chance

In the 13th minute, Olunga was picked out with a brilliant overhead ball from Eric Ouma, and when the last defender missed his clearance, the skipper was left one on one with the goalkeeper. However, his low shot was saved by the custodian’s legs.

Ouma once again played provider, this time sending Masud Juma through three minutes later, but the Saudi Arabia-based forward could not beat the keeper from a tight angle.

All the pressure finally bore fruit in the 19th minute when Okumu headed home the opener, glancing strongly from the edge of the six yard box to meet a Kenneth Muguna corner, to send the stadium into frenzy.

Kenya’s Anthony AKumu in action against Qatar. PHOTO/QSL

However, Qatar fought back and they levelled in the 34th minute when skipper Al Haydos scored from the penalty spot after a foul by Eric Ouma inside the box.

In the second half, the hosts had the upper hand as they enjoyed a better start off the blocks. Three minutes in, a defensive blunder almost saw the hosts go into the lead when Ahmed Alaa picked the ball at the edge of the box, but his quick shot and turn went inches wide.

Qatar with flurry of opportunities

In the 67th minute, Abdulaziz Hatem’s snap shot from the edge of the box was deflected behind for a corner by Okumu and from the resultant setpiece, Qatar almost scored. A corner was started quick and substitute Akram Afif danced his way on the right before delivering a strong low cross into the are.

Olunga almost turned the ball into his own net as he tried to cut out the cross, but luckily for him the familiar woodwork came to his rescue.

Stars have a fight as the game wore on, with Firat changing personell again, Nondi and Duke Abuya coming on to bolster the midfield.

And it was Nondi who would make a huge impact as he side footed the ball home from three yards out in the 90th minute, thanks to some hard work from Olunga.

Stars will now travel back home with focus on their last of two international friendly matches, against South Sudan at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Tuesday evening.

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