Harambee Stars increased their chances of making it to 2019 Afcon finals after registering a resounding 3-0 win over Ethiopia on Sunday.
Kenya came into the match aiming at getting maximum points to keep alive their dream of reaching the final of the competition that they last appeared in 2004 under coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee.
The fans started trickling in as early as 9am in to support the home team to victory, and their support paid dividends as the visitors looked disorganized as compared to the first leg where they failed to get a goal in a 0-0 draw.
It took the Walya Antelopes just seven minutes to show how tensed they were when a harmless header by Aschalew Tamene almost gifted Kenya a goal, but Michael Olunga and Erick Ouma failed to capitalize on it.
In the 13th minute, Walya Antelope's captain Getaneh Kebede broke loose about thirty five yards from keeper Patrick Matasi goal, but his fierce effort went narrowly wide.
That miss came back to haunt the team ten minutes later. Erick Johanna won the ball on the right, and fed Olunga , who took a one time shot. Fortunately for him it took a wicked deflection that beat goalkeeper Samson Asefa to hand the hosts a deserved opener.
Four minutes later, it was 2-0, this time round the ball was delivered in by Erick Ouma from the left. It was not well cleared and it fell to Erick Johanna, who made no mistake from about sixteen yards to double the advantage.
From there onward, Ethiopia resorted to cautious play with the real threat coming in later on in the 45th minute when a corner by Erick Johanna was almost turned into own net by defender Antenneh Tesfaye, however, the goalkeeper made a nice save.
Walya Antelopes were lucky not to concede a third goal, three minutes after the restart, after the defenders failed to communicate at the back, and the ball fell to Olunga, unfortunately, he could not hit the target.
The lively Johanna managed to get on Ouma’s perfect pass, cut in but met the leg of Ahmed Reshad and the referee had no option but point to the penalty spot and captain Victor Wanyama rose for the occasion, sending the keeper the wrong way and put the results beyond reach for the visitors.
It could have been 4-0 later on when substitute Ismael Gonzalez was fed the ball on the right, took time before feeding Dennis Odhiambo whose shot was deflected for a fruitless corner. As it stands, Ethiopia are bottom of the group with one point, Ghana are second on three with Kenya leading the with seven.
Kenya XI : Patrick Matasi, Brian Mandela, Musa Mohammed, Philemon Otieno, Abud Omar, Victor Wanyama, Dennis Odhiambo, Eric Johanna, Francis Kahata, Eric Ouma and Michael Olunga.
Subs : Faruk Shikalo, Brian Bwire, Bernard Ochieng, Johanna Omollo, Joash Onyango, David Ochieng, Anthony Akumu, Ismael Gonzalez, Paul Were, Ovella Ochieng, Piston Mutamba and Allan Wanga.
Ethiopia XI : Samson Asefa, Getaneh Kebede, Aschalew Tamene, Anteneh Tesfaye, Mulualem Mesfen, Ahmed Reshad, Gatoch Panom, Shemeles Bekele, Abdulkerim Mohamed, Dawa Hotessa and Shemket Gugesa.