Iraq 2-1 Kenya: Olunga's late goal not enough for Harambee Stars
Harambee Stars v Iraq
Michael Olunga pulled a goal back for Kenya after he unleashed a left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom corner

Harambee Stars suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Iraq in a friendly played on Thursday.

The hosts took a deserved lead in the 18th minute after Brwa Nouri converted from the penalty spot with a right footed shot and doubled the scores in the 45th minute courtesy of Ahmed Ibrahim Khalaf’s powerful header.

Michael Olunga pulled a goal back for Harambee Stars after he unleashed a left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner but it was too little too late as Iraq held on to beat the Kenyan side.

Coach Stanley Okumbi opted to start Patrick Matasi in goal, with Boniface Oluoch starting from the bench. With Victor Wanyama missing, Ernest Wendo was given the task of shielding the back four that revolved around Aboud Omar, Simon Mbugua, Jockins Atudo and David Owino.

Despite his poor form with the national team, Jesse Were was handed a start alongside Michael Olunga.

But it was the hosts, who started strongly pushing their visitors to committing mistakes especially in passing the ball. It was evident the visitors were nervous from the start, and it was no surprise when Iraq went ahead in the 18th minute through a penalty.

The foul was committed in the danger zone leaving the referee with no option but point to the spot, and Hekmat Nouri held his nerves to put the ball past Matasi. Defensive lapses enabled the hosts to double the advantage in the 45th minute courtesy of Ahmed Ibrahim .

Stars came back trying to at least get something from the match, but they got nothing save for a consolation scored by Michael Olunga in the 86th minute, after a perfect pass from Samuel Onyango .

Kenya will have at least 48 hours to rectify their mistakes, ahead of another friendly match against Thailand on Sunday.

Kenya Starting XI: Patrick Matasi (GK), Abud Omar, Simon Mbugua, Jockins Atudo, David Owino, Anthony Akumu, Ernest Wendo, Samuel Onyango, Eric Johanna, Jesse Were and Michael Olunga.

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Substitutes: Boniface Oluoch, Harun Shakava, Robinson Kamura, Musa Mohammed, Patillah Omotto, Cliffton Miheso, Boniface Muchiri, Dennis Sikhayi, Kenneth Muguna, John Mark Makwatta, Stephen Waruru and Masud Juma.

Iraq XI: Mohammed Kassid (C), Ibrahim Khalaf, Ali Adnan, Rebin Ghareeb, Waleed Salim, Aymen Hussein, Mahdi Kamil, Hekmat Nouri, Hikmat Azeez, Amjed Kadhim and Hussain Ali.

Subs: Talib Raheem, Mohanad Karrar, Ali Fadhil, Faez Atiyah, Resan Bashar, Ahmed Abdulzahra, Jalal Hassan, Fayyadh Ajeel, Yaseen Gheni and Mustafa Nadhim.