Kenya started strong, pushing more players upfront and it took two Ethiopian defenders to keep Kenya's top striker Olunga silent. But for all the efforts, Kenya failed to test Ethiopia's goalkeeper Samson Asefa.
Ethiopia's coach tried to make changes but could not turn the tide as Kenya held firm, dominating the midfield with Wanyama and Erick Ouma dictating the pace.
In the 64th minute Kenya sent shots cutting through Ethiopia's defense and in a desperate move to clear the ball, Johanna was fouled in the box. Wanyama stepped forward to take the spot kick and send the goalkeeper the wrong way to score the third goal. However the Kenyan captain picked up a hamstring injury minutes later and was replaced by Joash Onyango.
NAIROBI, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Harambee Stars took a major step forward in their hunt for a place in the 2019 Africa Nations Cup finals when they beat Ethiopia 3-0 in Nairobi on Saturday. Kenya now dominate the Group F standings with seven points after five matches ahead of Ethiopia on four and Ghana and Sierra Leone on three points.
Striker Michael Olunga, winger Erick Johanna and captain Victor Wanyama scored for Kenya to fan Harambee Stars' hopes of returning to the Africa Nations Cup finals after 14 years.
The goal rejuvenated Kenya as they camped in Ethiopia's half. Their efforts were rewarded in the 27th minute. Harambee Stars dribbled through center field and sent Paul Were through from the left wing.
His cross cut through the Ethiopian defense with Erick Johanna making it 2-0. Kenya continued to press well but ended up with five strikes off target and could not get through the Ethiopian defense as the two sides went for a breather with score at 2-0.
It took 11 minutes before Ethiopia made an attempt on goal, though Getaneh Kebede's strike was off target. Ethiopia then opted to sit back and try to catch Harambee Stars on the break. With both teams settled, it was Olunga who sent the fans into a frenzy after 23 minutes when he scored with a long range effort which dropped into the right corner of the goal.
Only the 12 group leaders and three best losers will join hosts Cameroon in the finals in June in 2019. With the Kenyan government paying for the tickets, the Moi International Sports Center was filled to the brim as over 400,000 fans watched the home team devour their visitors.
A defensive mistake by Ethiopia left Olunga alone with goalkeeper - the Kenyan striker beat Asefa in goal - but saw the ball put out of play by Aschalew Tamene for a fruitless corner in the 400th minute.