The towering Azam FC defender struck from the penalty spot to guide Adel Amrouche’s side to the last four and will now take on Kilimanjaro Stars
Azam FC defender Joackins Atudo scored from a controversial penalty to guide Kenya’s Harambee Stars past Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars and into the semi-finals of Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at Mombasa Municipal Stadium on Saturday.
Kenya, who will face Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars in the last four on Tuesday, looked off color and Rwanda seemed the better side despite the fact that they only boasted of one win in the entire tournament and one goal scored.
Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima controlled the midfield with Peter Opiyo not having his best day in office. However, Antony Akumu did well to cover for him (Opiyo) and the lanky Gor Mahia central midfielder had one of his best games in national colors.
Kenya however, had the first two chances of the game, first Allan Wanga sliding a header just wide from a well delivered Peter Opiyo free-kick while Noah Wafula had his volley evading the target by a whisker after being picked again by Opiyo.
But Rwanda came into the game strongly passing the ball around with ease but Stars' were kept on their feet by a well oiled backline that included the experienced Joackins Atudo.
And it was Atudo who would carry the team on his shoulders on 55 minutes, sending Jean Luc Ndayishimiye the wrong side from 12 yards out after Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza had handled inside the box.
The goal eased up the pressure on Stars as the fully packed Mombasa Municipal Stadium got behind them. Allan Wanga saw his shot blocked off for a corner on the right after a sweet inter change of passes between him, Francis Kahata and Jacob Keli.
Rwanda pushed Stars for an equalizer and probably send the game to penalties but it was not possible for a steady Duncan Ochieng’, who planned his defensive approach well. Coach Adel Amrouche brought on Edwin Lavatsa and Mungai Kiongera to spur the attack in place of injured Keli and Wanga.
The two brought some excitement into the game but the back of the net had already closed up for the evening.