Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying

Kenya hold Ethiopia to top Group F

Kenya moved top in Group F after holding Ethiopia to a barren draw in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match at Bahir Dar Stadium on Wednesday.

Ethiopia dominated the game, but their shyness in front of goal and good defending from Kenya ensured that the clash ended barren.

The point takes Kenya to top spot the group with four points, while Ethiopia are second on four. Ghana are currently third on three points, while Sierra Leone are bottom after winning one and losing one to date.

The other group F match between Sierra Leone and Ghana was postponed after the SLFA was banned by FIFA over government interference, and it remains to be seen whether the Leone Stars will be allowed to contest the rest of the qualifiers.

Ethiopia started the game strongly in search of an early opener.

Biniyam Belay on the left flank was particularly impressive in the opening minutes, easing past Kenya right-back Philemon Otieno on several occasions, but failed to create any meaningful chances for his teammates.

In the ninth minute, Ethiopia captain Getaneh Kebede was put through on goal, but he was denied by the offside flag as he prepared to shoot. Ethiopia continued dominating the proceedings, but their efforts to get an early breakthrough were thwarted by resolute defending from Kenyan defenders.

The Harambee Stars' first chance on goal came in the 19th minute; Erick Omondi did well to set up Michael Olunga, whose shot from the left side of the penalty area was saved by Ethiopia keeper Samson Assefa.

Kenya had another opportunity in the 25th minute, but Omondi's curled effort went narrowly wide. Moments later, Assefa was once again called into action, blocking a thunderous effort from Ovella as Kenya looked to take the lead. At the other end, Bekele hit the side netting from prime position.

The hosts were clearly in control of the game, but Kenya proved dangerous on the counter attack, with Omondi, Olunga and Ovella Ochieng looking particularly lethal.

The chances dried up as the clock ticked towards the break, but a minute before the pause, Olunga found the back of the net only for the goal to be ruled out by the offside flag.

Kenya made a halftime change, introducing Ismail Gonzalez for Omondi, who was guilty of throwing away some good chances in the first half. Seven minutes after the break, they were forced to make another change when left-back Abud Omar limped off to be replaced by Sweden-based defender Erick Ouma.

The match was more balanced after the interval, but Ethiopia showed more intent.

Ethiopia continued knocking at the Kenyan goal, and Shemeles Bekele hit the upright with Kenya keeper Patrick Matasi well beaten. Moments later, Kebede failed to connect to a scissor cross from a teammate, the ball rolled out for a goal kick.

Kenya continued frustrating the hosts, by defending deeply and trying to beat them on the break.

Matasi was once again called into action, parrying Kebede's thunderous shot for a corner kick. The visitors held on to claim a share of the spoils.

The two teams face off again on Sunday 14 at Moi International Sports Center Kasarani, Kenya.