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CECAFA: Crested Cranes through to semi’s despite loss to rivals

Crested Cranes line up before their game against Kenya at the Chimazi stadium, Tanzania | FUFA image

Faridah Bulega’s side suffered their first defeat at this year’s CECAFA Women Challenge Cup after falling to a comprehensive 3-0 defeat against rivals Kenya at the Chamazi Stadium, Tanzania.  

Forward Mercy Airo, 20, put Kenya in an early lead, as she beat Cranes captain Ruth Aturo for the first time in the competition.

Two minutes later, Kenya doubled their lead through Mwanalima Jereko Adam, further stamping their dominance on the game.

The Cranes were left with quite a huge mountain to climb, and despite enjoying a fair share of possession, they failed to breach Kenya’s resolute defence, as half time came to a close.

Uganda kept up the search for a way back into the game, and they kept probing but still, a breakthrough remained elusive.

The Harambee Starlets switched tactics, to a counter attacking approach, with the Crested Cranes drawing more and more men forward.

In the closing minutes of the game, Kenya’s counter attacking approach paid off when they were awarded a penalty after Bridget Nabisaalu handled the ball in the area. Jentrix Shikangwa stepped up to score Kenya’s third for the day.

The victory was a double celebration for the Kenyans, as they qualified top of Group B, while they avenged their 1-0 loss to Uganda in last year’s edition, which saw Uganda progress to the finals.

Uganda will come up against defending champions and hosts Tanzania in what will be a repeat of the 2018 final berth.

Kenya come up against Burundi who picked up a 5-0 victory over Zanzibar to storm the last four from the other group.

Kenya and Tanzania who qualified top of their respective groups are the only teams yet to concede a goal at this year’s tournament, the latter are the highest scorers with 20 goals thus far.

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