The Ethiopia national team saw its hope of qualifying to the 2019 AFCON dampened as Kenya thumped the visitors 3-0.
The big talking point after the 0-0 draw in Bahir Dar was about how Ethiopian fans turned in huge numbers to rally on their side. Kenyans took note of that and tried to replicate a similar atmosphere in the return leg. The Kenya Football Federation offered free tickets and transportation to fans so that they can support their side in this crucial game.
The Kasarani Stadium was packed to the roof. The fans were already lining up outside the stadium as early as 9:00 AM, seven hours before kick off. Kenyans were not only successful in replicating the atmosphere in Bahir Dar but they also witnessed their side record a comprehensive victory.
The Waliyas started the game on the front foot as they tried to take shots from distance in the early minutes with Getaneh Kebede’s shot sailing just past the upright.
Ethiopia’s bright start to the game didn’t last. Inability to clear a long ball offered Kenya the opportunity to take the lead. Michael Olunga’s shot was deflected by Anteneh Tesfaye wrong footing Samson Assefa and going into the back of the net.
It was all Kenya after the goal and the Harambee starts managed to double their lead four minutes later. A quickly taken free kick on the left side was whipped in and Eric Johanna had plenty of time to curl the ball beautifully into the net.
In the 38th minute Getaneh Kebede received a yellow card after clashing with Abud Omar, who also went into the referee’s books. And a minute later Anteneh Tesfaye was booked for a harsh challenge. The teams went into the dressing room with the home side two nil up.
Kenya kept on playing calmly but the same couldn’t be side about the visitors. The Ethiopians held on to the ball too long, made poor passes, didn’t cover the spaces, and committed silly mistakes in the final third- one of which was committed by Anteneh in the 50th minute but the ball was cleared after it went past Samson.
In the 65th minute Ahmed Reshid took down Johanna in the penalty box. Kenya Captain Victor Wanyama stepped up and coolly slotted home by sending Samson the wrong way to make it 3-0.
Abraham Mebratu brought on Oumed Oukori, Abel Yalew, and Henok Adugna to try and affect the game but it was to no avail. The Waliyas were overpowered, overrun, and outsmarted as they suffer a 3-0 loss.
Kenya are set to book their place in the AFCON 2019 competition for the first time since 2004. Ethiopia, on the other hand, were reminded that there is a whole lot of work still to be done.