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Harambee Starlets edge Ethiopia in five-goal thriller

Saturday August 17 2019

Harambee Starlets forward Mwanahalima

Harambee Starlets forward Mwanahalima "Dogo" celebrates scoring during their friendly match against Ethiopia at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on August 17, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

JEFF KINYANJUI
By JEFF KINYANJUI
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Kenya national women football team, Harambee Starlets, beat Ethiopia 3-2 in an entertaining friendly match played at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday afternoon.

With a lot of new faces in the team, Harambee Starlets coach David Ouma says he is impressed with the performance of the girls.

“We are rebuilding the team and I am happy with the performance. It is time to trust the fresh talents in the team and as a coach I trust they have what it takes to perform. We scored three goals and therefore offensively I am satisfied but we have to fix our defence, it's still porous,” noted Ouma.

Ethiopia coach Selam Zeray lamented on the preparations of her team but termed the friendly an eye-opener.

“We have only been in camp for a week and that showed in the game as we really struggled to play our style and did not dominate the game. However it was a good match and we have identified our weaknesses and strengths. We will be a better side before we face Cameroon,” said Zeray.

Mwanahalima "Dogo" Adam gave the hosts an early lead in the seventh minute by dribbling past two defenders before unleashing a low shot that beat Ethiopian custodian Balcha Tarikua. Kenya thought they had doubled their lead in the 12th minute when Topister Situma connected well to an Elizabeth Wambui's cross but the goal was ruled out for offside.

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The Ethiopians got the equalizer five minutes after the breather, a quick free kick on the edge of the box was started to Mirkat Ayele who found the bottom left with a placed shot that beat Starlets custodian Annet Kundu. 

Ouma made a double change after the goal, the pair of Janet Bundi and Sheril Andiba replacing Cynthia Musungu and Situma.

Dogo sealed her brace in the 59th after Corazon Adhiambo headed Mercy Airo’s cross to her path but Ethiopia levelled 10 minutes later through Kidane Serkadis who thumped home after a goal mouth melee in Kenya's box. 

There was still time left for the winner which arrived deep in extra time after Dogo was fouled in the box. Gentrix Shikhangwa sent Tarikua the wrong way from the resultant penalty.

Both teams were using the friendly match to prepare for Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers with Kenya set to face Malawi in the second round in a two-leg tie after getting a bye in the first round. Ethiopia will face Cameroon.

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