The Kenya national team, Harambee Stars was denied a morale boosting win in the preparations for the AFCON finals as DR Congo came from a goal down to salvage a 1-1 draw in a friendly game between the two nations, played at the Estadio de Santa Ana in Madrid on Saturday 15 June.
Michael Olunga gave Kenya the lead in the 25th minute but Sebastien Migne’s men were unable to hold on for a win as an Arthur Masuaku freekick from just outside the area in the 87th minute took a deflection and Patrick Matasi was unable to hold on to it, with the ball sliding past him.
The St. George keeper had in the opening minutes of the second half conceded a penalty but did superbly well to deny Cedric Bakambu from the spot.
Aside from the late concentration lapse the biggest blow was the injury to Ayub Timbe who limped off the pitch just 10 minutes after the restart with what looked like an injury to his left knee, the same knee that had kept him out of action for more than five months leading up to Stars’ preparations.
No official communication has been received yet, in regards to the injury but Stars have twice, before the game against Congo, been hit with the injury bug with defender Brian Mandela ruled out of the AFCON in its entirety after sustaining a knee injury in training and his defensive counterpart Musa Mohammed currently nursing a knock picked up in the friendly win against Madagascar last weekend.
Three changes were made to the starting XI that played against Madagascar with two enforced through injury.
Defenders Joash Onyango and Joseph Okumu partnered for the first time at the heart of the defence with Olunga coming in to lead the attack after starting from the bench against Madagascar.
Stars will now return to their base in Paris to finalize on their preparations before leaving for Cairo on June 19, four days before their opening Group C match against Algeria, on June 23.
Below is how both team’s lined-up;
Kenya Starting XI
Patrick Matasi (GK), Philemon Otieno, Abud Omar, Joseph Okumu , Joash Onyango, Victor Wanyama, Dennis Odhiambo, Erick Johanna (Ovella Ochieng 88’), Ayub Timbe (Paul Were 56’), Francis Kahata (Ismael Gonzalez 76’), Michael Olunga (Masud Juma 81’)
DR Congo Staring XI
Ley Matampi (GK), Arthur Masuaku, Marcel Tisserand, Christian Luyindama, Djos Issama, Youssouf Mulumbu (Merveille Bokadi 81’), Chancel Mbemba, Paul-José M’Poku (Jacques Maghoma 78’), Trésor Mputu (Elia Meschak 59’), Yannick Bolasie (Johnathan Bolingi 67’), Cedric Bakambu (Britt Asombalonga 73’)