Mali held onto their two-point lead atop CAF second round 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group E with a 1-0 win over Kenya at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday.
Les Aigles had defeated the same opponents 5-0 in Morocco earlier this week on the back of a Ibrahima Kone hat-trick and the forward scored again to end the Harambee Stars’ World Cup hopes.
Following a disastrous first game in charge, Kenya head coach Engin Firat promised an improved display in the Kenyan capital and the hosts delivered.
Kenya dominated the early exchanges but Abdallah Hassan and Boniface Muchiri failed to capitlise for the home team and they were ultimately made to rue their missed chances.
After hitting the woodwork just before the break, a warning sign for what was to follow, Mali hit the front with 55 minutes on the clock through that man Kone.
Kenya tried to respond with what would’ve been a rare goal, but Mali’s defence held firm and they will go into next month’s qualifiers holding a two-point lead over Uganda who they will host in the final round of group matches.
Kenya (0) 0
Mali (0) 1 (Kone 55′)
KENYA: Bwire; Okumu, Ouma, Omurwa, Hassan, Omar, Muguna, Muchiri (Meja 78′), Abuya (Kapaito 72′), Odada, Olunga.
MALI: Mounkoro; H.Traore, Sacko, C.Traore, Fofana, N.Traore, Samassekou, Kouame (Haidara 69′), Djenepo (Doumbia 87′), A.Traore (S.Coulibaly 86′), Kone (Toure 68′).