Harambee Stars were held to a barren draw by Ethiopia in their opening Group 'A' Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup match played at Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday.
Kenya failed to use home ground advantage as the Ethiopians seemed more comfortable in the 4:30pm kick-off match. Kenya created the early chances with Ethiopia only having one attempt in the opening 45 minutes.
Allan Wanga had the first chance of the game on 18 minutes but his header from David Gateri’s cross went over the bar. Gateri had done well on the wing to leave his marker and float in a well heavied cross but Wanga headed over. Captain of the day Francis Kahata had a chance minutes later but his shot went wide after Ethiopia failed to convincingly clear away a throw in.
Ethiopia then took dominance of the game passing the ball around with ease as the Kenyans seemed lost at times. Ethiopia’s short passing mode made the Kenyans sweat especially in the middle of the pack.
Duncan Ochieng was called into action for the first time in the 38th minute, making a full stretch save to deny Gabremichel Yakob’s shot from the edge of the box.
In the second half, the home side were determined to get in the much needed goal. Allan Wanga saw his 50th minute shot go just wide after a swift turn to leave his marker inside the box. Ethiopia had appeals for a handball turned down in the 60th minute as they protested that Aboud Omar had handled inside the box. However, Ugandan referee Dennis Batte had none of it.
Jacob Kelli came in for David Gateri who was tiring off and Musa Mohamed limping off injured as Mulinge Ndetto took his place.
Ethiopian Captain Fasika Asfan tested keeper Ochieng from a free-kick but the latter collected with ease. With time running out, pressure mounted on the home side with the Ethiopians resorting to holding the ball.
Allan Wanga had two chances with shots on top of the box but none of those went in. Ethiopia would have pulled a late one with an unmarked Manaye Fantu heading in at the far post, but his effort went wide.