Kenya kept alive their dreams of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup when they edged Ethiopia 2-1 in Machakos on Saturday to progress to the second round of the Africa qualifiers.

The team, dubbed Harambee Junior Starlets, sealed a 4-3 win on aggregate after their first leg clash in Hawassa, Ethiopia ended 2-2 a fortnight ago.

Kenya are likely to play Ghana in the next phase with the latter holding a commanding 5-1 lead over Algeria from the first leg.

Corazone Aquino, who engineered Kenya’s late comeback at Hawassa with her team 2-0 down, picked from where she left when she scored the opener inside the opening 15 minutes at the Kenyatta Stadium.

Aquino who also features for the senior side finished off a move involving by Gentrix Shikangwa and Martha Amunyolete.

Ethiopia restored parity against the run of play when they were awarded a penalty after Mirkat Feleke was hacked down in the box by keeper Lilian Awour following a mix up in communication with her centre half Lucy Akoth.

Mirkat dusted herself up to convert from 12 yards as both teams went to the break level at 1-1.

Shikangwa then capped a fine display when she put Kenya to the lead shortly after the interval after she rose unmarked to bury a header home after being picked out by a pin point delivery from a corner brought in by Wincate Kaari.

Caroline Acheing, the junior Starlets head coach, brought on Diana Wacera for Maureen Khakasa as she sought to protect the slim advantage and Cynthia Shilwatso should have put the tie to rest late on but watched in dismay when her strike came off the bar with Igese Abera well beaten.

Kenya are now only two steps away from the World Cup set to be staged in France between August 5-24 2018.

Should they go past Ghana in the second round, Kenya will face the winners between Sierra Leone and Cameroon in the final round.

The winners will book one of the two slots reserved for Africa in the ninth edition of the global showpiece. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/


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