Kenya’s Harambee Starlets are through to the second round of qualification for next year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations after stunning Cameroon 4-3 on post match penalties, following a 1-1 draw in aggregate.
Kenya won the return tie 1-0 in regular time, levelling matters from the first leg which ended by the same scoreline in Douala last weekend, in favour of the Indomitable Lionesses.
On penalties, Cameroon were off to a good start with Naomi Ndjoah scoring, and the keeper Michaely Kiria Bihina saving from Kenyan captain Ruth Ingotsi.
But, the Indomitable Lionesses could not ride on that wave of fortune as Charlene Meyong saw her penalty saved by Kenyan keeper Annedy Kundu to tie the score at 1-1.
Cynthia Shilwatso who came off the bench to score the solo goal in regulation time then scored a beauty, sending the ball into the roof of the net just after Cameroon’s Toko Ndjoya had scored, the scores now at 2-2.
Favour swung into Kenya’s hands when Fallone Meffoumetou saw her kick come rattling off the crossbar and Mwanahalima ‘Dogo’ Adam scored to give Kenya a 3-2 lead.
Star player Ajara Njoya then stepped up to score the last kick for Cameroon and from there, duty fell on Sheryl Angachi to score and send Kenya to the next round.
The midfielder made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way and win the game 4-3 for Kenya.
In regulation time, the hosts had started well, knowing they needed to score at least two goals for an outright win. They however didn’t land as much shots on target as they had wished.
However, they made changes in the second half, Terry Engesha coming off for Elizabeth Wambui while Shilwatso was introduced for Shikangwa, with Violet Nanjala also coming on for Akida.
The Kenyan girls kept the pressure, pinning Cameroon into their own half and this paid off in the 77th minute. Shilwatso stood behind a freekick from 35 yards out and struck a belter, the keeper’s butter fingers seeing the ball slip through and bouncing into the net.
Almost immediately, Shilwatso would have wrapped up the game when Cameroon were caught on the counter, Nanjala picking the ball on the left and slapping it low to the Ukraine-based forward whose shot came off the crossbar.
Starlets would then have keeper Kundu to thank as she made a brilliant block on the other end one on one to deny Ndjoya who had won the ball behind the defense.
The Kenyan girls managed to see off the game to penalties and clinched a crucial victory.
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