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Qatar vs. Kenya: Amos Nondi Scores Late As Harambee Stars Stun 2022 World Cup Hosts
- Kenya left it late to beat Qatar in a friendly match on September 7
- Amos Nondi turned in a Michael Olunga pass for the easiest of finishes to win the game in stoppage time
- Harambee stars will now return home to face South Sudan in another friendly game on September 12
Kenya's football national team, Harambee Stars, beat 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar in an international friendly match on Thursday evening.
Amos Nondi came off the bench to score the winner in stoppage time after a brilliant run from Michael Olunga. Joseph Okumu had given Kenya the lead in the 20th minute, but Hassan Al-Haydos equalised for Qatar from the penalty spot 10 minutes before half-time.
Coached by Engin Firat, this game was another opportunity for Kenya to prepare themselves for the upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers. The national team was locked out of the ongoing 2024 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as they were serving a ban imposed by FIFA.
Qatar vs. Kenya match report
Buoyed by a vibrant crowd at the Al Janoub Stadium, Harambee stars settled into the game more quickly than the hosts.
The double-pivot midfield of Richard Odada and Anthony Agay Akumu depicted a high level of understanding and chemistry as they sought to control the game in the early stages.
The first chance of the game, however, fell to Qatar's forward Yusuf Abdurisag in the seventh minute, who dragged his shot wide of Bryne Odhiambo in the Kenyan goal. Abdurisag was saved by the offside flag.
Kenya's skipper, Michael Olunga, had a golden chance to put his side ahead in the 13th minute, but his tame shot was parried by the lingering leg of Qatar's goalkeeper, Meshaal Barsham.
Barsham was called into action again three minutes later after Masoud Juma danced past a couple of challenges in the box but failed to beat the Qatari custodian.
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Joseph Okumu's goal
Kenya's pressure eventually paid off, with Daniel Anyembe winning a corner. Kenya Police midfielder Kenneth Muguna floated in the set-piece, which was met by an unmarked Joseph Okumu, who scored the opening goal of the game.
The centre-back, who recently joined French Ligue 1 club Reims, rose highest to score his senior debut goal in national colours. The creator of the goal, Muguna, went into the referee's book a couple of minutes later for a high challenge.
Qatar were presented with an opportunity to provide an instant response, but Bassam Al Rawi failed to keep his effort down from an Al-Haydos corner.
Odada was then caught in a tricky position on the half-hour mark as he fell inside his penalty area after receiving a pass. The AaB midfielder managed to clear the ball while still on the ground, with Qatari players closing him down.
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His teammate Eric 'Marcelo' Ouma was not so lucky a minute later. The Swedish-based fullback brought down Abdurisag inside his own area and, despite protests from the captain Olunga, the centre referee awarded a spot-kick.
Odhiambo went the correct way, but Al-Haydos's strike escaped his outstretched arms, nestling into the bottom corner to level the tie.
Qatar, under the tutelage of former Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz, came back a different animal in the second half. Queiroz replaced seven players, putting Kenya under instant pressure.
Olunga and Okumu were forced to make last-ditch blocks as the home side looked to go in front for the first time. Olunga, who turns out for Qatari giants Al-Duhail, was fortunate not to score in his own net in the 68th minute, with his clearance luckily hitting the foot of the post and ricocheting kindly back into play.
Ayub Timbe, who is known for his quick feet, was brought on at half-time to replace Elvis 'Machapo' Rupia. Singida FC midfielder Duke Abuya was later brought on for Kenneth Muguna as Firat chased a late winner.
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Amos Nondi's winner
The winner came against the run of play after Olunga beautifully brought down a long pass. The former Gor Mahia striker made a beeline for the goal before squaring a pass to Nondi, who was arriving inside the area unmarked.
Nondi was left with the easiest of tasks, passing the ball into an empty net to send the Kenyan bench and fans in the stadium into frenzied celebrations.
Firat will savour the win as Qatar are ranked 59th globally by FIFA compared to Kenya's 105. Stars will next play South Sudan at the Nyao National Stadium on September 12.