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Kenya and Rwanda play to a draw in Kigali

Group E in the CAF section of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying played host to another matchup between East African teams on Sunday with Kenya and Rwanda playing to a 1-1 draw. Both goals came in the opening twenty minutes with Kenyan talisman Michael Olunga’s strike being cancelled out by a fluke goal for Rwandan center back Abdul Rwatubyaye. Kenya ends their first set of qualifiers with two draws from two matches while the Amavubi of Rwanda earn their first point after an opening match loss to group leaders Mali.

Both teams looked eager to play more of an open style after finding goals hard to come by in their prior games on the first matchday, and the match got off to a riveting start. After Rwanda’s Djihad Bizimana sent a shot wide of the Kenyan goal, the Harambee Stars found the opening goal in the 9th minute. A cross from right back Daniel Sakari bounced in front of Amavubu goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure, who spilled the ball right on the edge of the six yard box. Chaos ensued with a desperate clearance attempt from the Rwandan defense allowing Olunga to sneak in and smash home from close range.

Struggling to produce attacking football in recent times, the early concession was worrying for Rwanda but the Amavubi did well to respond. In the 20th minute a corner kick found Rwanda star forward Jacques Tuyisenge at the far post, who nodded the ball down into the Kenyan six yard box. Abdul Rwatubyaye ran in initially to try and get on the end of the cross, but instead happened to be in the perfect spot as the Tuyisenge header ricocheted off Rwatubyaye’s back and wrong footed Kenya keeper Ian Otieno for the equalizer.

The match proceeded to be a generally even affair with opportunities for both teams but Rwanda showing a bit more urgency to obtain the win at home. However, after the teams went into halftime 1-1, Kenya had the more clear cut chances to win the match. Olunga’s class was clear to see and the giant forward nearly led the Harambee Stars to a precious road victory. Early into the second half Olunga blasted a free kick that forced Mvuyekure to tip over, and ten minutes later he showed his ability on the dribble by slipping past two Rwandan defenders before curling his shot over the bar.

Despite Kenya and Olunga’s efforts to obtain three points, the match ended 1-1 and was probably the proper refleciton of how the 90 minutes went. Highlights of the match are in the link below.

FIFA TV Highlights

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