Kenyas Harambee Stars survived a second half barrage from Ethiopia to pick a crucial point in their pursuit of the holy grail of qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon following a goal-less draw.
The result saw Stars inch closer to a return to continental football as they are now top of Pool ‘F’ with four points.
With the pool reduced to three teams following Sierra Leone’s suspension by Fifa for government interference, the draw means Sebastien Migne’s charges are now three points away from sealing a place in next year’s continental finals set for Cameroon.
Stars would have scored barely nine minutes into the match through Michael Olunga who headed Abud Omar cross but Samson Asefa tipped the ball for a fruitless corner.
The hosts, buoyed by their charging fans, responded in the 15th minute with Gathuoch Panom free kick missing the target by a whisker.
The red hot Olunga had another attempt in the 20th minute after being put through by Victor Wanyama but the Asefa parried the ball again before comfortably collecting a rebound brought in by Francis Kahata.
The improving Kenya had a perfect opportunity to take the lead in the 25th minute with Eric Omondi finding himself with the only keeper to beat after being put through by Olunga but the former Mathare United’ man flapped the chance.
Olunga and Philemon Otieno were the first players to be booked in quick succession as Ethiopia built on their game with the hosts having Abebo Reshad booked a minute to the break for diving.
This came after Dawa Hottesa had been booked for bringing down Abud Omar as the half ended with no one getting the better of the other.