Harambee Stars dream of a maiden FIFA World Cup appearance was crushed on Sunday after they lost 1-0 to Mali at home at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The defeat in their fourth match in Group E means that they only have two points, six less than second place Uganda, who beat bottom side Rwanda by the same score-line.

Indeed it was a better performance from the 5-0 hammering they suffered on Thursday but Ibrahima Kone’s 55th minute effort was enough to secure the away victory for his side.

Kone who struck a hattrick in the first leg in Agadir ensured that Mali keep their World Cup dream alive as they remain unbeaten after four games.

Kenya and Rwanda meanwhile have their ambitions come to a screeching halt and will play the last two matches for pride.

Head coach Engin Firat made changes from the squad that played in the first leg with Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma switched from left to right back, Brian Bwire started in goal ahead owhile Duke Abuya was preferred to Lawrence Juma in midfield.

Off a counter attack, Stars should have been one up in the 20th minute but Muchiri’s curling effort was parried away by the keeper after being out through by Olunga.

Hassan had been lively on the right wing, doing well to beat his markers but most of theme failed to deliver a quality ball into the box.

Mali were limited in their chances and the only time they came close was at the stroke of halftime when Diadie Samassekou’s looping header from Musa Djenepo’s cross hit the bar and keeper Bwire bounced up to collect the rebound.

At the start of the second half, Stars should have grabbed the lead when Olunga found some space to slash in a low cross into the box, but Hassan who was sliding in at the back post could not arrive in time to tap it home.

In the end, it was a game of missed chances as Firat succumbed to a second straight loss in charge, weeks after taking over as head coach.


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