IF Djurgardens’ forward Michael Olunga scored a 67th minute goal to guide Harambee Stars to a famous win over DRC in an international friendly match played at the 80 000-seater Stade de Martyrs on Tuesday 4 October from 8.30pm EAT.
The hosts were dominant for the better part of the first half creating numerous chances but Kenya back line led by skipper of the day David Owino partnering Brian Mandela did well to stop their attacks. DR Congo had the first test at goal on the fourth minute through Jose Mpoku whose shot was easily picked by Boniface Oluoch.
On the 25th minute, Eric Johanna’s free kick from the edge of the box went straight into Kiassumba Joel’s hands in the DRC goal. The hosts almost took the lead on the 27th minute after Mubele Firmin beat his marker, Jesse Were, before floating in a cross that was headed off target by Jonathan Bolingi.
Two minutes later, a more possessive DRC was at it again this time round Bolingi was put through but his shot was taken by a busier Oluoch. On the 32nd minute, Mandela fouled Bolingi outside the area but the resultant free kick bore no fruit.
Florent Ibenge was dealt a blow following Bolingi’s injury on the 38th minute with his place taken by Everton FC man Yannick Bolasie. Abud Omar combined with Johanna to find Michael Olunga on the 41st minute but the Swedish based striker’s shot from 20 yards couldn’t trouble Kiassumbua.
Poor communication cost DRC the opener at the stroke of halftime after Jose Mpoku swung in a cross from the right channel but Mubele headed wide with Bolasie in the right position to connect home.
Action swung from end to end in the second half with both teams pushing for the opener. At the hour mark, Mubele’s shot hit the sidenet and five minutes later, Bolasie wasted yet another chance for DRC.
Second half substitute Paul Were proved to be the game changer providing the assist on the 67th minute; his run on the left flank resulted into a shot that hit the crossbar before Olunga shot home with a well timed left foot to record his tenth goal in 23 games for Kenya.
Substitute Lukebakio Dody’s shot from a free kick hit the crossbar, DRC pressing on in vain as Stanley Okumbi led his charges to record a famous win – the second since 1992.
Congo DR Starting XI: 16. Kiassumbua Joel (Matampi Vumi Ley 46’), 14. Zakuani Gabriel, 4. Dualembo Christopher, 22. Chancel Mbemba, 6. Nsimba Vital (13. Lomalisa Joyce 46’), 20. Maghoma Jacques, 15. Youssef Mulumbu, 8. Mpoku Jose (12.Lukebakio Dody 73’), 7. Jordan Botaka, Mubele Firmin (10. Kebano Neeskens 83’), 9. Jonathan Bolingi (Yannick Bolassie 38’)
Unused subs: 2. Issama Djos, 17. Bope Merveille,
Kenya Starting XI: Boniface Oluoch (GK), Jockins Atudo, David Owino (c), Brian Mandela, Aboud Omar (Erick Ouma 88'), Anthony Akumu, Ismael Gonzalez (David Ochieng’ , Eric Johanna (Victor Majid 80’), Rama Salim (Paul Were 62’), Jesse Were, Michael Olunga.
Unused Subs: James Saruni (GK), Amos Ekhalie, Mark Makwatta