Kenya's Harambee Starlets played out a 2-2 draw with Zambia's Shepolopolo in the first leg fourth round 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifier at Kasarani on Friday.
The result leaves Kenya with a mountain to climb in the return leg next week having gifted Zambia two cheap away goals.
Shepolopolo opened the scoring through Grace Chanda in the 13th minute before Marthe Tembo's own goal at the half hour drew the hosts level. Vvian Odhiambo sent Starlets ahead in the 75th minute but the joy was short-lived as Zambia levelled through Rachel Kundananji a minute later.
Harambee Starlet coach David Ouma rued poor defending for the draw.
"The defence was shaky and anxiety among the players was also high but we are going to work on that for the next match," said Ouma.
"I believe Zambia are not that tough, they just got lucky. We will be aiming for better results in the second leg because all is not lost yet," he added.
Zambia coach Bruce Mwape admitted Starlets was the better side.
"We still have another 90 minutes awaiting us back in Zambia. The two goals might be good for us on paper but the work is not yet done. We hope to record a win at home and emerge as the aggregate winner," said Mwape.
In the clash that was attended by hundreds of supporters, the first rela chance fell to Cynthia Shilwatso in the seventh minute but the Starlets forward shot wide.
Zambia then took the lead against the run of play when Chanda connected to Barbara Randa's delivery from a freekick.
Mwanahlima Adam was denied by Zambia keeper Natasha Hazel in the 22nd minute. Starlets' pressure paid when Tembo scored into her net in the 30th minute.
In the second half, Zambia made a substitution replacing Captain Misozi Zulu with Rachel Nachula while Kenya introduced Jentrix Shikangwa for Vivian Makokha in the 66th minute.
Odhiambo scored in the 75th minute after Hazel failed to hold onto a shot but disastrous defending allowed Kundanaji to level almost immediately.
The return leg will be on Monday in Lusaka, Zambia.