KAMPALA, Kenya, Dec 10 – Timothy Otieno and Abdallah Hassan stepped off the bench to inspire Harambee Stars to a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Sudan and progress to the semi-finals of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup with a match to spare.
Mohamed Abbas Namir scored for Sudan in the second half but Hassan stepped off the bench to score the equalizer before another sub, Timothy Otieno set up Oscar Wamalwa for the winner with 13 minutes left on the clock.
Stars will now play Zanzibar in the final match looking to win and top the group.
From the team that won against Tanzania on the opening day, Stars made two changes with Moses Mudavadi starting ahead of Abdallah Hassan while Whyvonne Isuza started in midfield ahead of Anthony Wambani who was ruled out with illness.
Stars la led the fluidity they had on the opening day against Tanzania and the closest they came to goal was via a Mudavadi shot from the right that went over while Oscar Wamalwa had another deflected off a David Owino cross.
Sudan were a much improved side from the one that drew 1-1 with Zanzibar on the opening day and they were ,more confident on the ball and with their passing.
They got into the lead on the half hour mark off a counter, Namir hitting the back of the net with a low shot off a counter after Stars lost possession in the attacking third.
They almost double led their tally just three ,minutes later but Montasir Osman Yahia’s shot from the right hit the upright with the Kenyan defense caught napping.
In the second half though, stand in coach Zedekiah Otieno made changes, Abdallah Hassan coming on for Mudavadi while Timothy Otieno was introduced for Isuza.
Stars were better, spread the ball with more comfort and 20 minutes into the second half, they were level. Hassan headed home Kenneth Muguna’s cross from a freekick after he had been appended to take the scores to 1-1.
The goal was the motivation Stars needed and they pressed the Sudanese inside their own half.
Wamalwa thought he had scored his first international goal when he tapped home a Muguna cross, but the second assistant referee’s flag was up for offside.
But there was no denying him seven minutes later when he threw himself strongly to tap home a cross from Otieno to give Stars the lead.
He had a chance for his second in the 83rd minute when Kevin Kimani’s cutback from the right found him inside the box but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Stars were forced to defend deep for most of the final five minutes of the game with Sudan dumping high balls inside the area.
They had shouts of a penalty downed in added time after Mounir Yunis went tumbling inside the box with Joash Onyango clearing the ball.