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Kenya to face Eritrea in CECAFA semi-finals

Ethiopia vs Somalia in the final Group A match at the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda on December 15, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 15- Harambee Stars will take on Eritrea in the semi final of the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup after the Red Sea boys picked up a 0-0 draw with Somalia in their final Group A match on Sunday to finish second.

Heading into to the tie, the Eritreans just needed to avoid defeat and progress while the Ocean Stars of Somalia needed a win at all costs.

It was Eritrea who would meet their end of the bargain after 90 minutes to progress to their first semi final since 1994.

The Somalis will have only themselves to blame after dominating the chances, but nothing to count for all the statistics.

In the 13th minute, Omar Abdulahi Ibrahim did well to skip away from his markers on the left but his shot from a tight angle rolled across the face of goal. Two minutes later, Hasan Abdinur Gesey had an opportunity but his shot from the edge of the box off an Ali Aden Muse cut back went over.

Eritrea keeper Kibrom Solumun made a brilliant save in the 25th minute to tip over a point blank header from skipper Ahmed Said after he rose up brilliantly to connect to an Abdelaziz Safimayo corner from the right.

On the other end, Somali keeper Said Aweys made two good saves.

Eritrea’s Mubarek Kelifa takes on Somalia’s Yonis Abdirizak during their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup Group A clash at the Lugogo Complex in Kampala, Uganda, on December 15, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

First he went down brilliantly to block a shot from Eyob Girmay before making a brilliant one handed save a minute later to deny Ali Suleman Ibrahim’s vicious shot from inside the area.

Both teams looked to tire off in the second half as they failed to cope with the mid afternoon Kampala sun. The closest anyone came to goal was via a Girmay shot from inside the box that rattled the upright.

Meanwhile, Uganda Cranes finished the group phase with an unbeaten record after thrashing Djibouti 4-1. Muzamiru Mutyaba’s penalty kicked off things for the hosts before Joakim Ojera, Ben Ochen and Bright Anukani scored in the rampage.

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Haroun Mohammed scored Djibouti’s consolation.

The Shoremen of the Red Sea had a good first half where they pressed Uganda well, but had their misfortunes in getting their act together in the final third of attack.

Uganda’s Karim Watambala vies for the ball with Djibouti’s Haroun Mohammed during their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup Group A clash at the Lugogo Complex in Kampala, Uganda, on December 15, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

They were punched down early when Mutyaba converted from the penalty spot after Mohamed Bourhan handled Paul Mbowa’s cross from the left. Keeper Innocent Mbonihaukoe was unfortunate as he initially saved the penalty, but it took a spin and rolled back across the line.

Burundi’s best chance of the half was in the 41st minute when Hassan Moussa took on an audacious attempt on an acrobatic kick with a loose ball inside the box forcing Cranes keeper Joel Mutakubwa to a brilliant one handed save.

Uganda’s Viane Sekajugo piles pressure on Djibouti’s Warsama Hassan during their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup Group A clash at the Lugogo Complex in Kampala, Uganda, on December 15, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In the second half, Uganda took control of the game with Ojera sweeping a low ball under the keeper from the right just five minutes after the restart. Djibouti pulled one back when Mohamed scrambled the ball across the line, but they didn’t go the full length of the comeback.

Ochen made it 3-1 after tapping home at the backpost after the Djibouti keeper failed to properly punch away a cross from substitute Allan Okello.

Anukani then made it 4-1 with his second goal of the tournament, another strong shot into the roof of the net from Ochen’s cross, barely two minutes after coming on for Patrick Kasozi.

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