Kenyans in final
Atieno’s brace lifts girls after coming from behind to reach semi-finals
Kenya’s Harambee Starlets came from a goal down to beat Ethiopia 3-2 at the Technical Institute Njeru,Jinja, Uganda, yesterday and qualify for Tuesday’s Cecafa women’s championship final against Tanzania who beat Uganda 4-1 in the later semi-final.
Neddy Atieno’s brace and Carolyne Anyango’s header lifted the Starlets after Ethiopia’s Losa Abera escaped the Kenyan defence to score in the 36th minute to give Ethiopia the lead which they held at half-time.
The pep talk from coach David Ouma at the break paid off as Atieno scored her first goal in the 50th min- ute after receiving a pass from Mary Kinuthia to level the scores 1-1. Atieno went on to torment the Ethiopian side coached by Mesert Manni in the 61st minute as Kenya took a 2-1 lead. Anyango made it 3-1 for Kenya before Abera brought respectability to the scoreline for the Ethiopians.
The match begun on a high tempo, with Ouma making only one change to the starting line-up which had kept a clean sheet throughout the preliminary Group “A” matches against Uganda, Burundi and Zanzibar.
He opted to start with Samantha Akinyi between the posts as Vivian Akinyi was rested.
Good exchanges between Atieno, Kinuthia and Esse Akida was once again the order of the day in the first 15 minutes as Kenya pressed for an opener.
Akida nearly scored in the 17th minute but her long range shot struck the upright.
Ethiopia began to make inroads and their efforts almost paid off in the 20th minute but Shetaye Sisaya’s free-kick from 18 yards was easily collected by Akinyi .
From there on it was a see saw battle. Kinuthia tested Ethiopian goalkeeper Liya Shibru with a free kick but her effort was contained.
Then Kenya continued to press as the Ethiopians adopted a counter attacking tactic.
On resumption Akida, currently the top scorer so far with five goals continued to run rings in the Ethiopian defence but again her close range shot in the 58th minute was wide.
Coach Manni made the first change in the 61st minute,replacing Erhima Zeregaw for Emebet Awol as they searched for an equaliser.
Anyango ensured her name was on the score sheet with her powerful header from a corner in the 71st minute to give Kenya a 3-1 lead.
However, Ethiopia continued to push and their efforts paid off when Abera scored her second goal.
Harambee Starlets Neddy Atieno, Esse Akida (14) Ann Onyango (8) and Mary Kinuthia (4) celebrate after beating Uganda Falcons during their International Friendly match at Moi Stadium Kisumu on July 3./