KISUMU, Kenya, Dec 14- Whyvonne Isuza’s 95th minute curling effort from inside the box saw Kenya’s Harambee Stars sail into the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup final after beating Burundi 1-0 at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
On an afternoon that Kenya’s performance was wanting, Isuza handed Stars the last laugh, scoring five minutes into the first period of extra time off a Samuel Onyango assist.
For most part of the match, Burundi was the better team creating more chances, but it was the hosts who got luckier as they keep the hunt for a fifth CECAFA crown.
The Burundians boasting a strong squad including the returning Abdul Razak Fiston who had been in Angola to negotiate for a transfer started strong.
In the 10th minute, Patrick Matasi was called into his first save of the tie, tipping the ball over from a curling corner taken by Shasir Nahimana.
Four minutes later Musa Mohammed was forced into a goal-line clearance after Shabaan Hussein headed in from a Laudit Mavugo cross with keeper Matasi already beaten.
Burundi continued to dominate, knocking the ball around with ease while Kenya struggled to keep possession. The usual fast movement the players have been accustomed to over their past four games was a far cry against Burundi.
In the 28th minute, Shabaan had a shot fly over from distance after gliding his way smoothly past Kenyan markers on the right before shifting to a favorable shooting position.
Towards the end of the half, Dennis Sikhayi made a superb tackle inside the box to deny Nahimana who had broken into the box from a Fiston ball on the left which had left Matasi for the dead.
In the second half, Burundi continued to dominate and just two minutes in, centre back Moussa Omar saw his header off a Kwizera corner drop just wide at the far post.
There were back to back chances in the 65th minute, first Matasi doing well to get behind a shot from Mavugo while on the counter launched, Ovella’s shot from the right went straight to the Burundi keeper.
Stars were dealt a major blow with skipper Musa Mohammed limping off injured and in his place came Duncan Otieno who was slotted straight into defense, away from his usual preference in midfield. George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo was also substituted for Kepha Aswani.
Aswani had a chance five minutes to time when he met a long throw from Wesley Onguso, but the effort went over with the keeper off his line.
Another injury blow was meted on Kenya with Oburu limping off injured and replaced by Onyango.
Onyango proved his worth five minutes into the first period of extra time, slicing in a low cross from the left and Isuza curling in the ball from inside the box unmarked.