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Starlets down Botswana to set Banyana tie

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HARAMBEE-STARLETS

NAIROBI, May 31- Harambee Starlets will face South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in the third round of the CAF women’s 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers after edging out Botswana on away goals following a 1-0 victory in Machakos.

Dorcas Shikobe was the hero for the host after scoring a last minute winner for a 2-2 result on aggregate following a 2-1 first leg reverse in the first leg.

Mary Kinuthia who scored the away goal a week ago, supplied the killer cross from a corner for Shikobe to connect with a fine shot from the edge of the box for the winner.

The visitors who entered the encounter as favourites forced the first corner after Thuto Ramafifi wasted a one on one with keeper Pauline Atieno.

Starlets found their feet after 20 minutes when Neddy Atieno was fouled by Kesegefotse Mochawe but Kinuthia’s free-kick went wide.

Chacha Tabaka couldn’t break the deadlock either, after heading wide from a corner with only the keeper to beat as Botswana held the hosts goalless in the first first-half.

David Ouma charges improved after the break with Chacha tormenting the Botswana defence and came close to the breakthrough with a stinging shot from outside the box that was kept out spectacularly by Sedilame Bosija.

Esse Mbeyu spurned another guilt edged oppurtunity when she was left with only Bosija to beat from a Chacha cross before Botswana resorted to time wasting with Ramafifi booked for it in the 60th minute.

Mbeyu wasted another perfect opportunity ten minutes later when she skewed her finish wide when clear on goal.

 

Ouma pulled out Bwire Fikiri and Mbeyu for Caroline Anyango and Maureen Achieng’ in a last ditch effort to find the all important goal as Kinuthia saw another great effort repelled as Kenya despaired.

 

However, they were not to be denied when Kinuthia curled in a corner that was buried by Shikobe to send the home fans wild in celebration as Starlets’ Olympics dream survived.

Starlets will now face the might of African women’s football titans, Banyana Banyana starting on the weekend of July 17 in a two-legged fixture as they hope to make their Olympics debut in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next year.

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