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Kenya thrashed 5-0 by ruthless Mali and Les Aigles move back into first place in Group E

Mali continue to look like the favorites to advance out of Group E in FIFA World Cup qualifying following a decisive 4-0 victory over Kenya on Thursday. Ibrahima Koné was clinical with his finishing and ended the match on a hat-trick with Adama Noss Traoré and an own goal completing the scoring to make new Kenya manager Engin Firat’s competitive debut a nightmare. Les Aigles are now on seven points following the result, two points ahead of Uganda at the top of the group and Kenya move down to third place while remaining with two points.

Kenya star forward Michael Olunga nearly opened the scoring with a low left footed effort just after the opening minute, the shot going wide. Unfortunately, this was the closest the Harambee Stars got to earning a positive result on the day. From then on it was all Mali, who were not hindered at all by having to host their opponents in Morocco rather than Mali due to their stadium situation. Before ten minutes were up, Koné had his first goal. In the 7th minute, poor passing in the back from the visitors led to the other Adama Traoré of Moldovan club Sheriff Tiraspol collecting the turnover and moving the ball up to Koné, who assisted the open Adama Noss Traoré for the Hatayspor player to finish past Kenya keeper Ian Otieno.

The attacking efficiency did not cease for Mali as the first half wore on. A quick combination down the left flank in the 22nd minute created space for left back Charles Traoré to cross to the far post, where Adama Noss Traoré bounced his header to the opposite post for Koné to crash in and head home his first goal of the match. About fifteen minutes later, the Adama Traoré from Sheriff Tiraspol sent in a corner kick that found a wide open Falaye Sacko at the near post, who flicked a header to the far post for Koné to finish from close range uncontested as Kenya totally lost the plot on their set piece marking.

Kenya’s disastrous first half was completed in the 43rd minute when Mali made it 4-0. Moussa Djenepo provided some elastic dribbling on the left side of the Kenyan penalty area and was bundled over by a frustrated Harambee Stars defense as he attempted to cross. Koné was given the opportunity to complete his hat-trick and the Sarpsborg striker obliged with a booming spot kick that left Otieno with no chance.

The Harambee Stars improved their play in the second half but it was far too late for any hopes of a comeback as the Malians cruised. Les Aigles completed their humiliation of the visitors in the 85th minute when substitute Lassine Sinayoko burst down the left flank with a swift run, cutting back low to the Moldova-based Traoré. Traoré fed another substitute, Moussa Doumbia, who tried a shot with the outside of his foot that rebounded off the post and back off substitute Kenyan keeper Farouk Shikalo and into the net. It suitably completed an absolutely embarrassing outing for Kenya.

Kenya will host Mali in the return fixture on Sunday, where another loss will officially eliminate them from contention for the next round. Highlights of Mali’s destruction of the Harambee Stars are a click away in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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