Kenya opened their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with an impressive 1-1 draw away to Egypt at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Thursday.
Kenya’s evening got off to a troublesome start, as they were forced to replace both goalkeeper Patrick Matasi and forward Ayub Masika within the opening half hour. Masika had earlier come close to putting the East Africans ahead, but he saw his goal-bound effort well saved by Ahmed El Shenawy.
Egypt gradually took control of the game and went ahead a few minutes before the end of the first half, with Mahmoud Kahraba intercepting a back-pass from Erick Ouma before rounding replacement ‘keeper Ian Otieno and slotting into an empty net.
The Pharaohs’ first change in the second half saw the introduction of Ahmed Zizo El Sayed, who almost put the hosts two goals up just past the hour mark with a curling effort which flashed just wide of the target.
However, on 67 minutes the battling Harambee Stars claimed an equaliser. Michael Olunga picked up a poor pass from Egypt substitute Mohamed Elneny and drove an effort beyond El Shenawy to make it 1-1.
The North Africans made an attacking change by putting on Ahmed Gomaa 15 minutes before the end of regulation time, and they proceeded to push hard for a decisive goal. Yet none was forth coming for Egypt, who were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.
The other Group G match played simultaneously in Lome saw hosts Togo suffer a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Comoros.
The teams will be back in AFCON action on Monday 18 November, with Egypt away to Comoros and Kenya at home to Togo.
Egypt (1) 1 (Kahraba 42’)
Kenya (0) 1 (Olunga 67’)
Egypt: El Shenawy, Afsha (Elneny 65’), Alaa, El Shahat (Zizo 57’), Fathy, Ab. Gomaa, Hamed, Hegazy, Kahraba, El Sulaya (Ah. Gomaa 76’), Trezeguet
Kenya: Matasi (Otieno 10’), Ouma, Stanley, Juma, Masika (Nyakeya 30’), Olunga, Olwande, Omolo (Muguna 65’), Onyango, Otieno, Wanyama