Harambee Stars were left in a shambles after brilliant Algeria edged past them in their first African Cup of Nations’ group stage match played in Egypt on Sunday.
The match left Stars trailing in their group with only the alphabetical listing order giving them an edge over close neighbours Tanzania who had earlier lost to Senegal.
Algeria’s first goal was converted from the spot after a dangerous tackle from Kenya’s defender Dennis Odhiambo against Youcef Atal gave Baghdad Boundejah the chance he needed to calmly stroke the spot-kick past Star’s keeper Patrick Matasi in a penalty kick.
The Algerian stars comfortably dominated the game, and their efforts bore fruits when Riyad Mahrez’s shot was deflected straight into the net, leaving Kenya trailing 2-0 at the end of the first half. The Desert Foxes, as they are referred to, were superior in every aspect and dominated from defence to attack.
Man City star Riyad Mahrez was seen as the man of the moment when his quality and brilliance brought some life to the game as the second half was a turgid affair, full of fouls and stoppages.
Were it not for the brilliance and reflexes of Kenya’s goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, however, the game would have ended with more goals in Algeria’s favour.
Harambee Stars looked more composed in the second half but the side struggled to get the ball past a strong Algeria defence to isolated striker Michael Olunga in their attack.
Ayumbe managed to get into the danger zone at the 83rd minute but his pass to Olunga was intersected by Atal, who sent the ball out for an unfruitful corner.
The result means that Algeria grabbed all the three points and are on the level with Senegal who thrashed Tanzania 2-0 earlier on.
Kenya’s next match against Tanzania is a must-win in order for them to revive their hopes of advancing in knock out stages.
The match will be played on Thursday, June 27, 2300hrs East African Time.