(African Stand) — Kenya’s Harambee Stars hope of making it into a second consecutive Africa Cup of Nations was dashed on Sunday night after a 2-1 loss away to Comoros left them winless in Group G, leaving them with a mountain to climb with two matches remaining.
Faiz Mattoir scored the winner for Comoros four minutes into the second half after Cliff Nyakeya had cancelled out El Fardou Ben’s opener.
With an away trip to Togo and a home tie against Egypt in the final two matches, fate is now out of the Kenyans’ hands as they will need Comoros to lose both their final matches while they have to beat Togo away and Egypt at home.
Comoros will book a ticket to the Cup of Nations for the first time ever if they beat either Togo or Egypt in their final two games.
Just like they did in the first leg, Stars were off the blocks with the handbrake on.
They were 1-0 down after 23 minutes when an unmarked El Fardou bounced a header past a helpless Arnold Origi after across from the left picked his run, the two central defenders found off their mark.
The goal looked to have awoken Stars from their slumber and they began playing with more urgency. At the half-hour mark, Brian Mandela had a chance when he took on a drive from his defensive position, but his shot from range was easily collected by keeper Ben Boina.
Stars kept on prodding and were rewarded in the 36th minute when Nyakeya struck a low shot after the ball bumped around inside the box when the Comoros defense failed to clear a cross from David Owino.
Four minutes later, coach Mulee made a change, bringing out the off-color Lawrence Juma for Kenneth Muguna in a bid to bring in some creativity to the side.
The Gor Mahia skipper almost made an immediate impact, releasing Ayub Timbe with a peach of a pass but the winger was too selfish when he drove into the box, shooting at goal from a tight angle instead of squaring the ball back to a screaming Masud Juma outside the six-yard box.
In the second half, Stars were punctured in the second half when Mattoir scored the second goal for the home side after striding into the box from a pass on the right.
Stars tried to pile in the pressure for a goal, but all their efforts came to nothing. John Avire, Boniface Muchiri, Eric Johannah, and Abdallah Hassan were all brought in to strengthen the attack, but nothing was forthcoming for the Kenyans.