Gor Mahia midfielder, Ali Abondo missed a penalty as Harambee Stars crashed out of the 2016 CHAN qualifiers after visiting Ethiopia held them to a barren draw in the return leg played at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
Stars bowed out 2-0 on aggregate with the first leg defeat proving enough to put the side out of the CHAN misery.
It was the second penalty Stars missed over both legs after tTusker FC midfielder Kevin Kimani saw his effort saved in Ethiopia.
Head coach Bobby Williamson, slammed his charges for failing to convert spot kicks that would have given his side hope of coming back to the tie.
“It’s disappointing we missed the penalty because I told Dennis Odhiambo to take them before the game and Abondo decided to take.
“He might have confidence but unfortunately he never scored. But that’s football; if you don’t take chances you don’t win games.
“It’s our fault that we are out because we created more chances than them. I give credit to our opposition, we didn’t get our long balls correct and we panicked in the box,” the deflated Williamson said after the match.
His opposite number, Johannes Sahle criticised match officials from Comoros.
“They were expecting us to seat back and defend the two goals but we wanted to attack, we tried to take the confidence away from them.
“We pressured them until they started playing long balls, our aim was to take the confidence away from the defenders and I think it worked,” he expressed as his players danced around him in joy.
Both sides made changes from the first-leg, with Williamson starting with Gor centre-backs, Musa Mohammed and Harun Shakava as well as left back Dennis Odhiambo for Lloyd Wahome, Jackson Saleh and Aboud Omar.
The hosts got off the mark after 12 minutes when Humphrey Mieno won a free-kick 30-yards from the box but unmarked Odhiambo failed to convert from a Kimani set-piece.
Moments later, Mieno squandered two opportunities when he hurriedly blazed wide in the first-half that wasn’t busy for home keeper, Boniface Oluoch who easily snuffed Ethiopia’s two goals on target.
The hosts got a chance to reduce the deficit when the referee awarded them an indirect-free kick in the box after keeper, Tarik Getnet cleared the ball after the six second rule elapsed but Kimani saw his poor set-piece blocked.
At the other end, Ethiopia wasted a glorious chance towards the breather when they broke through from the counter but skipper, Behailu Assefa blasted wide with only Oluoch to beat.
The Walia Ibex who made for changes began the second half on a high, forcing Oluoch to make a brilliant double save from Behailu.
Thereafter, Stars will blame themselves with Olunga failing to tap home in the 53rd, before Abondo wasted Mieno’s pass to shoot wide.
Tarik denied Jesse Were’s header two minutes later before Stars got a chance to come back in the game when Abondo was brought down in the box to win a contentious penalty.
Abondo, who has scored eight goals in the KPL stepped up but his poorly executed penalty hit the post with the keeper diving to the right direction.
Williamson withdrew him for Danson Kago but the penalty miss gave the visitors motivation as they continued to attack.
Despite the referee giving Stars most of the 50/50 decisions, Olunga and Kimani failed to find the back of the net as Williamson did his last substitutions pulling out Kimani and Edwin Wafula for Eric Johanna and winger Noah Wafula.
Johanna’s first touch was effective with his first touch nearly giving Stars the first goal only for Sahldin Bargecho to block it as the Walia Ibex held on to hold Williamson charges at their back yard and advance to the second round.