MACHAKOS, Kenya, Apr 1- Kenya’s ‘RisingStars’ will have a tough task ahead of them in the return leg of their African Under-20 Cup of Nations Qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali on April 21 after Byiringiro Rague scored in the 88th minute to see the tie in Machakos on Sunday end 1-1.
Richard Odada had scored for Kenya in the seventh minute, but a spirited Rwanda and their never say die attitude ensured they flame of the tie remains alive scoring with two minutes left from a counter attack.
The Rising Stars will now need either a high scoring draw or an outright win in the return tie to book a slot in the second round where the winner of this two-legged tie will meet Zambia.
It wasn’t the most assuring of performances from the ‘emerging stars’. The first half was scarce of chances and action infront of goal, most of the action concentrated on hurdling for possession in the middle of the pack.
The home side broke the deadlock in the seventh minute when the lanky Odada picked up a loose ball inside the box before calmly firing past the Rwandese keeper.
The visitors had failed to clear away a low freekick from Alpha Onyango who had struck from almost 20 yards out and with the spills falling on Odada who has had trials with the Juventus junior team in Italy, he made no mistake converting.
However, there was little to write home about in terms of chances.
Kenya’s best player on paper, winger Musa Masika failed to sparkle and seldom had balls his way to create danger from wide areas.
In the second half, the intensity rose a bit but it wasn’t enough to warrant any threat infront of goal.
The lanky Sidney Lokale had a half chance on the turn after picking up a long ball, but his eventual shot didn’t have enough sting to trouble the Rwandese keeper.
Lokale was once again in the thick of things a few minutes later when he took a touch away from the keeper after a run into the box and from a tight angle managed a shot at goal, but Rwanda skipper Prince Buregeya managed to clear off the line.
Vincent Wasambo also had a go at goal with a snap shot straight from a throw-in but the effort went just wide.
Masika who had struggled to make an impact in the game was then brought off with some pain on his knee and in came Erick Ng’eno.
But the Rwandese were the more attacking side and they came close with Christian Ishimwe’s curling effort from a freekick in the 72nd minute missing the target by a whisker.
Byiringiro then made the Kenyan keeper work to a fine save at his near post after skipping away from his markers on the right before shooting at goal.
However, the resilience paid off with just two minutes of regular time to play when from a counter attack, the winger rounded the keeper who made a first attempt to punch the ball off his feet.
Byiringiro however picked it up once again and found shooting space to squeeze the ball in.