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Zambia Hold Starlets in Olympics Qualifier

Kenya and Zambia shared the spoils in a four-goal thriller as their 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifier on Friday ended 2-2.

Kenya and Zambia shared the spoils in a four-goal thriller as their 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifier on Friday ended 2-2.

It was a great start for the visitors with Shepolopolo’s Grace Chanda connecting to Barbara Randa’s delivery from a free-kick to make it 1-0.

Harambee Starlets saw a lot of possession after that, but they struggled to fashion any decent goal scoring chances.

Instead, Zambia came close to doubling their lead in the 25th minute when a right-sided free-kick from Anita Mulenga resulted in a goal-mouth scramble inside the Starlets box that saw Mary Mwakapila pounce on the loose ball, but he was denied from six-yards out after a great save from Annedy Kundu.

At the half-hour mark, Kenya applied pressure on the Zambians and their efforts were rewarded when Marthe Tembo scored into her net in an attempt to clear the ball out of the danger zone.

Starlets dominated proceedings for the remainder of the half, but they could not find a second goal before the break.

In fact, Shepolopolo nearly took the lead for the second time in the 40th minute when Misozi Nzulu struck the top side of the Starlets crossbar with a 16-yard shot.

Kenya fired on all fronts at the start of the second half, pinning Zambia into their own half with countless balls through to the final entry of the field.

Jentrix Shikangwa took off her tracksuit from the dugout and ran out for Vivian Makokha with 52 minutes gone, as Vivan Odhiambo went on the front foot, but the move did not bear fruit.

With 20 minutes remaining, Bruce Mwape made a tactical change, as winger Rachel Nachula came on in place of defensive midfielder Misozi Zulu in search of the winner.

Starlet’s pressure in the last third eventually paid off as Odhiambo restored their lead in the 75th minute after Hazel failed to hold onto a powerful shot.

Zambia quickly hit back a minute later when a harmless ball into the box was spilled into the path of Rachel Kundananji and the BIIK Kazygur’s forward duly fired home from inside the penalty box to make it 2-2.

The hosts almost stole the winner deep in the added time but had to settle for a share of the spoils in the end, missing the chance to fully utilize their home advantage.

Photo Credit; Rodgers Odhiambo

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