Harambee Stars became the first team to reach the finals of this year’s CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup following a hard-labored 1-0 win over Burundi on Thursday December 14 at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
The match had to go into extra time after none of the sides had scored in normal period, with Whyvonne Isuza netting in the 96th minute to send the hosts into the finals.
Burundi almost broke the deadlock fifteen minutes into the match through Shassir Nahimana but the forward saw his header hit the post before Musa Mohammed quickly cleared it out of the danger zone.
The match then slowed down in pace as both sides failed to get right the final passes under the hot weather conditions.
In the 42nd minute, Burundi keeper Jonathan Nahimana did well to keep his side in the match, coming out of his line to thwart a shot from Ovellah Ochieng who had been fed with a precise through pass from midfield.
Stars head coach Paul Put opted to bring in Kepha Aswani in place of George Odhiambo at the half hour mark in a bid to strengthen his attack that somehow looked blunt. Few minutes later, captain Musa Mohammed was also substituted by Duncan Otieno following an injury he sustained and could not continue.
Aswani and Ovella would go on to miss chances in the final ten minutes of extra time, prompting the referee to signal for an extra time of 30 minutes.
The first minute of extra time saw Vincent Oburu limp out of the field unable to continue and Samwel Onyango replaced him.
Onyango made an immediate impact five minutes later, racing down the left flank before delivering a low cross into the box which was blasted into the top corner of the net by Whyvonne Isuza for his first international goal.
The hosts were then able to hold onto the slim lead for the remaining minutes, becoming the first team to secure a spot in the finals.
They will now face the winner of the second semifinal Uganda and Zanzibar who play on Friday December 15 from 15:00.
Kenya Starting XI: Patrick Matasi(GK), Musa Mohammed(C), Jockins Atudo, Nicholas Shikayi, Wesley Onguso,Patillah Omoto, Whyvonne Isuza, Ovellah Ochieng, George Odhiambo, Ernest Wendo, Vincent Oburu
Subs: Boniface Otieno, Gabriel Andika, Said Tsuma, Benard Ochieng, Samuel Juma, Masoud Juma, Charles Momanyi, Wellington Ochieng, Isaack Kipyegon, Duncan Otieno, Kepha Aswani, Crispin Oduor
Burundi Starting XI: JonathanNahimana(GK), Pierre Kwizera(C), Rachid Hererimana, Tresor Ndikumana, David Nsimirimana, Omar Moussa, Gael Duhayindavyi, Shassir Nahimana, Hussein Shaban, Laudit Mavugo, Abdoul Fiston
Subs: MC Arthur Arakaza, Onesme Rukundo, Steve Nahimana, Youssouf Ndayisimiye, Bienvenue Shaka, Mossi Moussa, Moussa Herimana, Cedrick Urasega, Eric Ndoriyobija