Harambee Stars in a surprise 1-0 win in DRC
Michael Olunga struck a second-half winner as the Kenya put up a spirited fight to stun the highly-fancied Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 1-0 in an international friendly at Stade des Martyrs de la Pentecôte in Kinshasa on Tuesday.
Olunga slotted home after pouncing on a rebound after Paul Were’s shot had hit the bar in the 68th minute to give the Harambee Stars, who were without skipper Victor Wanyama, a historic win over the hosts.
David Owino, who skippered Kenya in Wanyama’s absence, was paired with Brian Mandela in central defence. Aboud Omar and Jockins Atudo were deployed in fullback positions as coach Stanley Okumbi set up his side in search of his second win since taking over from Bobby Wiliamson.
The DRC’s attacking duo of Firmin Mubele and Jonathan Bolingi troubled the Harambee Stars’ backline early on before the latter was stretched out injured and replaced by Yannick Bolassie with six minutes to the break.
MISSED A SITTER
Olunga had a chance to give Kenya the lead after 41 minutes but shot straight at Joel Kiassumba in the DRC’s goal before the hosts also missed a sitter at the stroke of halftime as both teams went for the break tied at 0-0.
Okumbi replaced the ineffective Ismael Gonzalez with David Ochieng at the start of the second half and brought in Were for Rama Salim, a surprise starter, after eight minutes to inject pace in his attack.
Were beat his marker on the left before releasing a shot that beat Kiassumba but was denied by the woodwork before Olunga slammed home the rebound in the 68th minute to silence the partisan home crowd.
Sensing he could walk away with victory and with the hosts attacking, Okumbi brought in Victor Majid for the fading Eric Johanna with 11 minutes to go before he introduced Eric Ouma for Omar at the death as the Harambee Stars held on for victory.