Kenya thrash Chinese Taipei to enter Intercontinental Cup final

Mumbai, June 8 (IANS) Kenya thrashed Chinese Taipei 4-0 in the last group stage match at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Friday to qualify for the final of the Intercontinental Cup.

In order to qualify for the final, Kenya at least had to win this game with the margin of three goals and D. Odhiambo (52nd minute), J. Atudo (54th minute penalty, 89th) and T. Otieno (69th minute) made sure their team reaches the summit clash.

Kenya, who qualified for the final due to their superior goal difference and head-to-head record against New Zealand, will now face hosts India in the summit clash on Sunday.

Chinese Taipei started on a good note, trying to pass the ball around and Kenya, on the other hand, were forcing them wide towards the corner.

Several times in the first half, Chinese Taipei tried to put pressure on Kenya from the right flank but a strong defence from the Kenyan players denied any chances.

Changing their strategy, Kenya started counter attacking, playing with long balls and their opponents looked clueless in the final third for few minutes.

The last 10 minutes saw fierce attacking by Chinese Taipei. They created many chances in front of the goal, playing by keeping the ball on ground, but could not finish properly and as a result, both teams remained goalless.

The second half saw much more action as in the 50th minute, Chinese Taipei came close to score from the right flank but Chen slammed the pass from Wang straight to the keeper.

Just after that, Kenya regrouped and slammed two goals within a span of two minutes.

In the 52nd minute, D. Odhiambo scored through an assist from Ovella Ochieng. Ochieng delivered a corner into the centre of the box where an unmarked Odhiambo converted a beautiful goal.

After two minutes, Joackins Atudo scored through a penalty corner to make it 2-0 after a goalkeeping blunder. Yu Hung Chiu hit a goal-kick straight to the path of Otieno, who passed to Mutamba into the box. The striker took a touch to take the ball away from the onrushing goalie who crashed the forward down to gift his opponent a penalty.

Just after the twin goals, Kenya induced more energy to the field by playing aggressive game.

Needing one more goal to qualify for the final, Kenya stepped up to the occasion and slammed their third. In the 69th minute, Chinese Taipei’s goalkeeper once again did the blunder. Super sub Otieno chased a routine pass towards the goalkeeper and the latter made a complete mess out of it. The goalie missed the ball and Otieno slotted the ball home.

Trying to reduce the goal margin, a desperate Chinese Taipei started attacking. In the 81st minute, they got a chance as Chang Lun Lin played a wonderful lobbed through ball into the centre of the box where Ching Hsyan Chen tried to head but it went wide.

The regular efforts from Chinese Taipei players to score saw their defence opening up and Kenya’s Atudo scored his second goal of the match. After his initial effort was saved by the goalkeeper off a free kick from Omwenga, Atudo converted the rebound to close the issue.

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