Kenya 1-0 Swaziland: Starlets complete group matches unbeaten

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Harambee Starlets finished top of Group ‘B’ after winning all her group matches, beating Swaziland by a solitary goal in final

Kenya will meet hosts Zimbabwe in the second semi-final of the 2018 Cosafa women’s champions in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Harambee Starlets finished top of Group ‘B’ after winning all her group matches, beating Swaziland by a solitary goal in the final match played on Monday.

Mercy Achieng's 90th-minute goal handed Swaziland a last minute defeat having played the better part of the second half with a player less in a match that was punctuated by poor judgment from the center referee.

Starlets finished top of the group with nine points and 17 goals. In another Group ‘B’ match, Mozambique handed Mauritius a 3-0 thumping. Kenya approached the match casually, with coach Richard Kanyi making eight changes to his starting line-up.

Goalkeeper Pauline Atieno, who started her first match after recovering from a slight injury last week, was forced to a first save in the 17th minute when she picked Swaziland’s deep cross dropped into the box from the right wing.

But the Kanyi girls, who were playing with eight new faces from the team that thrashed Mauritius 11-0, started the second half on a shaky note.

The sloppy defending from Kenya almost gifted Swaziland a goal in the 56th minute, but Atieno came off her line to save the situation.

Swaziland received a blow in the 63rd minute when they were reduced to 10-women after Celiwe Nkambule was shown a straight red for a high boot challenge in what appeared like a harsh call from the referee.

Kenya would then find more space going forward and the numerical advantage almost paid off just two minutes later when Mercy Achieng' and Phoebe Awiti combined well in the box but Swaziland’s goalkeeper was right on time to pick the through ball.

Achieng’ buried the ball in Swaziland’s goal with a long range right foot shot from outside the 18-yard area but the referee never pointed at the center.

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But Achieng’ would rise to the occasion, this time around, with a clear goal when she chipped home in the dying minutes of the match to keep Kenya's 100 percent record in the championship intact.

Harambee Starlets XI: Pauline Atieno (GK),  Juliet Auma, Esther Nandika, Lilian Adera, Cheria Avilia, Janet Bundi, Caroline Anyango, Pauline Musungu, Phoebe Awiti, Florence Awino and Mercy Achieng’.

Substitutes: Mwanahalima Adam, Dorcas Shikobe, Neddy Atieno, Caroline Chepkoech, Lucy Mukhwana, Monicah Karambu, Jennipher Adhiambo and Dorris Anyango.

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