The Walya Antelopes, who have won two of the three pre-Afcon friendly matches and drew one against Tunisia, head to South Africa on WednesdayEthiopia wound up their friendly matches ahead of the Afcon 2013 with a 2-1 victory over Tanzania in a match played at Addis Ababa Stadium on Friday.
The Walya Antelopes dominated the game and created many chances but as always they lacked the finishing touch. Fuad Mohammed opened the scoring for the victors in the 13th minute before Tanzania leveled deep into the second half courtesy of dangerman Mrisho Ngassa. Ethiopia then grabbed the winner in the 69th minute through Shimeles Bekele.
Ethiopia started the game with only two players that were in the starting line-up in their match against Tunisia earlier this week - defenders Aynalem Hailu and Biadgelegn Elias - as Coach Sewnet Bishaw was using this build up to test his reserves.
The first yellow card came just 2 minutes in to the game when forward Fuad Ibrahim claimed he was fouled when trying to convert a Behailu Assefa cross. The referee, however, was differed in his opinion and booked him for diving.
Sewnet’s attempt to utilize the wings through Yusuf Saleh and Behailu Assefa was fruitful as the two wingers were able to make runs break in to the Tanzanian defence on numerous occasions.
Behailu Assefa’s low cross from the right found Fuad Ibrahim and the US-based striker made no mistakes in his finishing to give his side a 1-0 lead.
The rest of the first half was dominated by Ethiopia as Sweden-based Yusuf Saleh made two shots on goal, but couldn’t get the ball past the Tanzanian keeper.
Coach Sewnet substituted three players at the break with star striker Saladin said coming in for Oumed Ukuri and another forward Adane Girma and midfielder Shimeles Bekele replacing Dawit Estifanos and Yared Zinabu.
Adane Girma was told to play as a defensive midfielder and he did not disappoint as he is no stranger to the position as he used to play there when playing for Awasa City and St. George.
The Taifa Stars, however, came more determined in the second half and started launching quick counter-attacks and trying to break the Ethiopian defence through long balls.
This move paid off as a brilliantly executed counter-attack, some sloppy defending and errors from 3rd choice keeper Zerihun Tadele contribute to their lone goal in the 51st minute. Ngassa clinically finished from inside the box to restore parity.
After the goal, Ethiopia tried to get back on the lead by introducing Dedebit’s Striker Getaneh Kebede and winger Siyoum Tesfaye. But it was St. George’s Shimeles Bekele’s header in the 69th minute that restored their lead. The 23 year-old midfielder rose above everyone to get on the end of Yusuf Saleh’s cross to give the lead back to Ethiopia.
Top Striker Saladin Said made four attempts on goal since coming in, but he couldn’t find that finishing touch that he is too well known for. The Tanzanian keeper punched-out three of his efforts. Saladin dribbled past the keeper after receiving a through ball from Shimeles Bekele only to see his shot cleared off the line by a defender: it was just not his day.
Adane Girma and Siyoum Kebede made long range efforts in the closing minutes of the match. Adane narrowly missed the target and as for Siyoum, the keeper was able to punch the ball out; Tanzania have their keeper to thank for not conceding more goals.
The Walya Antelopes have now won two of the three pre-Afcon friendly matches and drew one against Tunisia. They will head to South Africa to take part in the competition on Wednesday after Sunday’s send-off ceremony that will be held at the Millennium Hall.