By Lorraine Ruto,
123rd ranked Harambee Stars enhanced their chances in their AFCON Group ‘E’ qualifier match after forcing a 1-1 draw against hosts Congo in their first leg tie staged away in Congo who are ranked 47th.
Harambee Stars took the lead barely after nine minutes through Paul Were who beat the offside trap after being set up by Allan Wanga to beat Congo Keeper Mafumbi Henry.
The hosts however equalized after 35 minutes through a spot kick converted by Oniangue Prince after Jackson Salleh handled the ball in the danger zone. Keeper Bonface Oluoch almost reached for the ball but was late by a fraction of a second.
The match had however started on a bright note for the Congo side with a side netting from Mervel in the fourth minute while Dore Ferebory headed wide moments later.
It was a balanced affair with both team’s creating chances .In the 20th minute, Captain Victor Wanyama went close with a bicycle kick from Were’s corner.
Earlier in the 17th minute,Harambee Stars goal survived narrowly when Karouf Boukua header from Ndockyt Merveil cross went few inches wide with Keeper Oluoch well beaten.
The Kenyans bounced back with Michael Olunga and Allan Wanga going close in the second half but were ruled offside.
Coach Bobby Williamson made three changes in the second half by hauling out Noah Wafula, Were and Wanga and introduced Sam Timbe,Kevin Kimani and Anthony Okumu who brought stability in the dying minutes.
Noah Wafula was then stretchered off in the dying minutes of the first half with an injury but managed to pick up and proceed with the game.