Brave Harambee Stars still cling to last 16 hopes after drubbing
Kenya left their qualification to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 hanging by a thread Monday night after a 3-0 hiding at the hands of Africa’s top ranked team Senegal at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo.
A strike from Stade Rennais forward Ismaila Sarr and brace from Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, including a penalty in the second all but ended Kenya’s campaign in Egypt as the Teranga Lions booked their spot in the last 16 as runners up behind Algeria.
Algeria made 11 changes to the team that beat Senegal last week and still beat Tanzania 3-0 in Cairo to top Group C with nine points.
Senegal were runners-up with six points, Kenya third with three and Tanzania, back at the tournament after 39 years, ended pointless.
BEST THIRD PLACED TEAM
Kenya could still go through as one of the four best third placed teams depending on how Group “E” and Group “F” plays out on Tuesday.
Harambee Stars had defended well in the first half, but had to rely on the instincts of goalkeeper Patrick Matasi to save a Mane penalty in the 27th minute after Aboud Omar had brought down a Senegalese player in the danger area.
In fact, the Kenya goalkeeper kept Stars in the game in the first half, the penalty save his highlight play for the period.
Two minutes earlier, the St Georges goalie bravely charged out of his line to keep out Idrissa Gueye’s shot from near point blank range.
In the 45th minute, Stars again had to call on Matasi at full length to parry Ismaili Sarr’s beautiful header that was headed for the top right corner.
Harambee Stars’ best chance of the half fell on Japan-based Michael Olunga, who stole behind the Senegalese backline to latch on to Philemon Otieno’s long punt, but just could not guide his lobbed effort home with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy committed out of his line.
Senegal were frustrated for most of the first half before getting their breakthrough and then the tide flowed forcefully in their favour.
Kenya failed to clear a cross in their area and Sarr firmly planted his half volley into the net in the 62nd minute.
From then on it was all Teranga Lions. Matasi and Otieno, who had a torrid evening, failed to deal with a long ball from infield and Mane, cool as a cucumber stole away with the ball to roll it into the net in the 71st minute.
Otieno was then sent off for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute and Mane stepped up to bury the penalty kick to close out the game.