Kenya opened their account in the Hero Intercontinental Cup with an impressive 2-1 victory over New Zealand at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai tonight (June 2, 2018). Sarpreet Singh opened the scoreline in the 42nd minute for tNew Zealand but Kenya scored in each half to earn all three points. Mihesi Cliffton (45’+2′) converted from the free-kick and Ovella Ochieng (68′) added another to secure a win for the Harambee Stars.
Both teams opted for a cautious start in their first outing of the Hero Intercontinental Cup but the pace of the game elevated as time passed.
New Zealand were attacking in numbers and came very close to opening the scoring but the resilient Kenyan defenders showed their character until the 42nd minute when Sarpreet Singh finally broke the deadlock.
Dane Ingham took on his own to launch the attack down the right wing and passed it to his brother Jai Ingham who delivered a meticulous pass to onrushing Sarpreet to do the final damage.
The Kiwis‘ joy was cut short three minutes later when Miheso Cliffton curled a brilliant free-kick over New Zealand goalkeeper Crocombe’s head to draw a parity on the scoreline before the halfway mark.
Following the changeover, Kiwi gaffer Fritz Schmid rang a couple of changes to add more agility on the attacking third.
Kenya could have earned an unexpected lead in the 56th minute when the Kiwi defender Justin Gulley’s terrible clearance missed the back of the net narrowly.
Twelve minutes later, Harambee Stars made the most of a miscued clearance by Noah James in the midfield to get their second goal. On a quick counter-attacking move, Ovella Ochieng outran the Kiwi defender and rolled it past the New Zealand goalie in the 68th minute.
As the pouring slowed down towards the final whistle, Kenya contained with the flurry of Kiwi attacks to leave the ground with three points.
Kenya will face hosts India in their next match at the same venue on June 4, 2018 whereas New Zealand will need to deal with Chinese Taipei next day.