Niger 2019 | Defensive Errors cost the hosts

Ethiopia hosted Burundi in the U-20 AFCON qualifier for Niger 2019. The hosts failed to take their home advantage and the numerous chances they created as they lost two nil at home. 

The atmosphere in Addis Ababa Stadium wasn’t vibrant as usually is the case when the national team plays. It was the handful Burundi fans who were making all the noise. And their chants got louder as the visitors took an early lead in the third minute.

Ethiopian goalkeeper Tsion Mered gave away a needless corner kick as he tried and failed to control a ball that was going to be a goal-kick.  The initial cross from the corner went for a throw but Burundi managed to take the lead after that. Juma Muhamed’s strike from the edge of the box sailed in to the back of the net to silence the home crowd.

After conceding the goal Ethiopian players managed to control much of the ball and tried to carve open the Burundi defense with short passes and crosses. But for all their possession they barley managed to trouble goalkeeper Lukundo Onejime. The only expection was when Eyob Alemayehu’s  attempt inside the box was saved in the fifteenth minute.

In the 22nd minute Burundi scored their second from a corner. The initial header was saved by Tsion but the rebound was turned in by Shaka Btenynue’s.

Ethiopia once again kept the ball while Burundi sat deep and tried to defend their lead.  Abubeker Nesru continuously made surging runs from the right side and put in crosses but Mela Teshita was unable to make contact.

Coach Atnafu Alemu made a change at half time by bringing on Sentayehu for Mikael. But it would take 18 minutes before the Ethiopians made their first attempt of the second half. A free kick delivery was headed by Mesay Paulos but it went wide and another cross was squandered after that.

Following that Burundi had two golden opportunities to further their advantage. Eric Ndorbobiya found space to take a shot but it was straight at Tsion. After that they had an even better opportunity to make it 3-0 as two Burundi players found themselves alone against Tsion but the chance was wasted.

Ethiopia had two opportunities in the dying minutes to cut back the deficit. Abubeker’s low shot went wide and Mikias’s strike in added time sailed over the bar.

Unforced defensive errors and inability to deal with set pieces have cost Ethiopia once again and the match ended in a 2-0 win for the visitors. Ethiopian will face a tough challenge of reversing the score in the return fixture.

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