Starlets cruise past Equitorial Guinea

Harambee Starlets on Wednesday beat Equatorial Guinea 2 -1 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos in the first leg of the African Cup of Nations qualifier to carry a slender advantage ahead of the second leg. Tereza Engesha and Esse Akida scored on either half to give the hosts victory ahead of the return match this Saturday in Malabo. The West African nation struck first in the 39th minute with Jade Sayo converting from a Genoveva Anonman corner to earn them an away goal. Starlets then restored parity before half time with Tereza Engesha chipping the Equatorial Guinea custodian Lucrecia Boabailia. The David Ouma coached side had made their intent known from the start with a Neddy Atieno shot in the ninth minute missing the mark. A series of attempts from the Starlets on the visitors’ goal continued with Wendy Achieng, Lillian Adera and Atieno unable to make their chances count. Equatorial Guinea enjoyed brief spells of possession forcing Starlets goalie Poline Atieno to two saves from Gloria Chinasa and Jade Sayo in the 21st and 35th minute respectively before taking the lead with a header from Jade Sayo. The home side continued the onslaught in the second half mounting pressure on the West African back line. Mwanahalima Adam forced a save from Lucrecia with a goal bound shot that was parried out for an unsuccessful corner. The visitors looked to be playing for a draw but substitute Esse Akida had other ideas, striking in the 84th minute to hand the Kenyan side the victory. Focus now shifts on the rematch set for this weekend in Malabo with a ticket to the continental showpiece 1 November 17- December 1.

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