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Starlets humiliate Mauritius to qualify for COSAFA semis

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Harambee Starlets celebrate one of their goals. PHOTO/COSAFA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 16- Neddy Atieno struck four goals with Mwanahalima’ Dogo’ Adam and Lucy Mukhwana scoring twice as Harambee Starlets qualified for the COSAFA Women’s Championship semi-final with a commanding 11-0 victory over Mauritius in their second group match of the tournament.

Atieno stretched her tally of goals in the tournament to seven having scored a hatrick in the opening day 5-2 win over Madagascar with Adam and Mukhwana’s brace added on to goals from Dorcas Shikobe and substitute Cherish Avilia completing the rout.

Starlets will now need in the least a draw from their final group match against Swaziland to top the group and meet Group A’s second best team in the last four.

Head coach Richard Kanyi made two changes from the team that won 5-2 against Madagascar, changing his first choice keeper Jenipher Odhiambo for Monicah Karambu while Mercy Achieng dropped to the bench as Caroline Kiget started.

Adam began the rout for the Kenyans in the 5th minute with a superb effort, setting herself up with the first touch and striking a superb volley with her second after picking up a deep corner from Wendy Achieng.

Starlets had picked cue from their first game when they had started well but failed to use their chances, this time making a decent start, dominating play and pushing Mauritius into their own half.

Pauline Musungu came close for Kenya with a dipping effort from the edge of the box that went against the crossbar after a poorly defended corner by Mauritius. Immediately, Caroline Omondi also had a chance inside the box from a Neddy cross but the ball went wide.

In the 19th minute, Mauritius keeper Betty pulled off a great save to deny Mukhwana who had found space inside the box before shooting low.

Kenya’s dominance was affirmed with Atieno striking two quick goals within seven minutes, first racing on to a rebound after the keeper had spilled a Mukhwana shot to score her fourth goal of the tournament.

She made it five for herself and three for Kenya seven minutes later, with a superb individual brilliance on the left, racing past three markers with some fancy step-overs before shooting into the net from a tight angle.

Ogiro Dorris (r) of Kenya during the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship football match between Kenya and Mozambique at Luveve Stadium, Bulawayo on 14 September 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Three minutes later, it was 4-0 for Starlets when Mukhwana got her name on the score-sheet with a lob over the advancing keeper after picking up the ball from 30 yards out. Neddy completed her hatrick at the stroke of halftime with a sumptuous diving header from an Adam cross to make it 5-0.

Kenya continued its dominance in the second half and three minutes after the restart, Adam came close but her header unmarked on the right from a Neddy cross went wide.

But immediately after the miss, Kenya went 6-0 up, Mukhwana completing her brace with a simple tap in off a Neddy cross, the Kenyan girls now turning the game into a simple training session.

Atieno got her fourth goal and the seventh of the tournament in the 50th minute with a carbon copy goal of her second, once again showing blistering pace on the left before hitting into the roof of the net from another tight angle.

Substitute Cherish Avilia got into the party with a cool, calm and composed finishing after slicing into the box, outmuscling her marker to score.

Mauritius had an effort from a Marie Bidias freekick go against the bar while three teammates bumped on the rebound as they attempted to slot it home, Kenya winning back the ball.

Mukhwana should have joined the hatrick camp in the 70th minute but she hit the upright with a gaping goalmouth after sidestepping the keeper.

But Kenya kept the song going in the 78th minute when Shikobe struck brilliantly from the edge of the box after a short start to a corner and Adam completed her brace seven minutes from time with a great individual effort, sliding into the box from the left before shooting low.

Samantha Raoussie scored into her own net late on, compounding a disastrous morning for the Southern Africans.

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