​Report: Walias Kick Start Campaign with a Win 

The Ethiopian national side was too good for South Sudan as they defeat the Bright Stars 3-0 in their opening Group B fixture on December 5 in Kakamega. Ethiopia maintained possession the whole game but the lack in attacking edge let the Waliyas not find the back of the net several time. South Sudan did little to resist the Waliya’s dominance as they stumbled to a 3-0 defeat at Bukhungu Stadium.

Coach Ashenafi Bekele gave a debut starting berth for Abel Yalew while Amanuel GebreMikael made his debut for Ethiopia in the second stanza. Abel was lively throughout the encounter as he became a throne in flesh for a fragile South Sudan side. Ethiopia should have taken the lead five minutes from the onset but Abubkher Sanni failed to connect an easy chance from a goalmouth. Dawa Hotessa’s powerful low drive was well saved by Juma Jinaro but Abubkher skied the rebound. Wlaiyas continued on to push and yet again they were let down a poor finish. Abubkher’s low shot from a tight angle was parried away by an alerted Jinaro. At the 11th minute Abel brilliantly set up Dawa however the later squandered an absolute seater from 2 meters out raising questions on Ethiopia’s strength in converting chances.

Abel ultimately found the back of the net to put Ethiopia ahead in the 24th minute. The center forward picked up a cool pass from Samson Tilahun, who had a give and go pass with Abdelrahman Mubarak, and fired home past Jinaro. Abdelrahman then squandered two opportunities in quick session before the teams head to the dressing room.

After the recess, Ethiopia pilled on the pressure early and rewarded with two goals to put the game into bed. Team captain Abebaw Butako relesead Abel with a long range pass when the forward chipped on the rushing Jinaro to complete his brace in the 50th minute. Seven minutes later Abubkher struck the third leaving Jinaro with no chance. Following a comfortable 3-0 lead Ethiopia declined in possession while South Sudan pushed forward to pull one back and reduce the deficit. They should have gotten a goal five minutes before time but the post denied them to make the day a gloomy one for the South Sudan national team. Substitute Joseph Cellistino lost his marker Henok Adugna and unleashed a powerful shot to rattle the post before Abel denied by Jinaro from completing a hat trick.

Ethiopia tops group B with three points while Burundi, who shared spoils against defending champions Uganda, are second with a point. Ethiopia and Burundi will lock horns in the second group game on Thursday, December 7. Uganda and South Sudan lock horns on the other game on Friday, December 8.

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