Gor Mahia’s attacker Rama Salim, Thika United’s Clifford Miheso and David Ochieng of Tusker FC were on target to give Stars the deserved victory and a ticket to the last eight where they join champions Uganda Cranes and Burundi.
Elias Mamo pulled a consolation for Black Lions in the 29th minute capitalizing on goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng’s poor clearance from a corner-kick to drive in a fierce long range volley to the roof of the net.
Stars had began the match on a high note with Salim and Mike Barasa combining well upfront and it was not long before their lethal partnership yielded the opener.
In the 23rd minute, Baraza found out Rama with a precise left flank delivery which the Gor talisman made no mistake with converting into the net.
A dazed Ethiopia found themselves on the back foot trailing by two goals in the 26th minute when midfielder Bernard Mang’oli floated in a corner-kick and the unmarked Ochieng easily nodded into the net.
The two goals pushed Ethiopia to swing mode and they began launching spirited attacks leading to the corner that eventually led to their consolation goal.
Ochieng did well to clear the lurking danger with a powerful punch but his charges were slow in reaction allowing Mamo to fiercely drive in.
The win sees Kenya finish the Group stage race on 6 points with a +3 goal difference and join hosts Uganda Cranes as the two teams to have qualified.
This is an improvement from their performance in the last two editions where they were knocked out in Group stages.
In 2010, Kenya failed to win a single match in the Group stage prompting the resignation of the then head coach Jacob ’Ghost’ Mulee.