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Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying

Kenya stun sorry Ghana in Africa Cup of Nations qualifier

Kwesi Appiah of Ghana Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Ghana suffered an early setback in their bid to reach an eighth straight Africa Cup of Nations as they fell to a shock 1-0 defeat by Kenya in Nairobi on Saturday.

The win is the Harambee Stars' first over the Black Stars in a competitive game, with their only previously triumph coming in a 2003 friendly.

Nicholas Opoku's first-half own goal gave the Harambee Stars all three points despite playing for the final thirty minutes with ten men after Joash Onyango was sent off.

Ghana remain atop Group F on goal difference ahead of Kenya and Sierra Leone, who play Ethiopia on Sunday

Kenya's breakthrough came in the 39th minute after a period of consistent Ghana dominance.

Eric Johana delivered a fine cross into the Ghana box and, under pressure from Michael Olunga, Opoku diverted the cross into his own net.

The goal summed up Kenya's attacking approach with the Harambee Stars often looking for Olunga with a long ball or cross in a first half that was largely dominated by Ghana.

However, the Black Stars had enough chances to have been at least level.

Kwesi Appiah left returnee Kwadwo Asamoah on the bench, didn't pick Harrison Afful and opted to start with Majeed Waris up front instead of Raphael Dwamena.

Those changes didn't affect the chances Ghana created, but their finishing was lacking.

First, Edwin Gyasi combined well with right-back Andy Yiadom to play through Waris, but the Nantes man dragged his effort wide of Patrick Matasi's goal.

Afriyie Acquah then wriggled his way through a tight space to feed Thomas Partey, whose shot was easily held by Matasi.

Much of Ghana's attack was being routed through Newcastle United's Christian Atsu who was getting a lot of time on the ball on the left, but his crosses lacked quality and were being picked up too easily by Matasi.

The Kenya goal six minutes before half time forced Appiah into early changes for the second half; he threw on Raphael Dwamena for Edwin Gyasi, and while Ghana grew in attacking strength and created more chances in the second half, the finishing deteriorated.

Atsu finally delivered a good cross at the start of the second half but Waris could not apply the finish touch as it drifted across the face of goal.

Daniel Opare then set up Acquah with a fine cross, but he applied a clearing header instead of a finishing one.

Then, Atsu and Partey attempted to force the issue, playing some fantastic one-two passes before letting the chance slip when the former failed to pull the trigger.

Kenya sat deeper as the half wore on and grew more physical in their defending.

Onyango went a step too far with that physical approach when he brought down Waris when the hitman was clear on goal, and was duly dismissed by Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe.

That still didn't help Ghana's course even after Asamoah and Afful were introduced, with Dwamena and Partey both missing big chances.

Ghana will seek to recover from the Nairobi setback with a home game against Sierra Leone in October.

ANC Qualifying News