The Junior Lucys’ threw away a two-goal cushion as a spirited fight from the visiting Junior Starlets saw them earn a 2-2 away draw.
The homers then took full control and were almost rewarded for their domination as Mirkat Feleke’s header in the 16th minute sailed wide of the post as Ethiopia grew dangerous upfront.
The Junior Lucy took the lead three minutes later as Feleke rounded Kenya goalie Lilian Awuor to fire home from close range after she collected a long ball from Bethlehem Kefyalew.
With the Kenyans crumbling at the back, Ethiopia yet again struck their second goal in the 27th minute when Alemneshe Geremew wonderfully fired home from 25 meters out. Geremew beat her two markers before unleashing a superb shot that left Awuor helpless.
Trailing by two goals, the Starlets switched to counter attacking play but again Ethiopia went very close to add a third goal when Awuor denied Senaf Wakuma at the brink of recess.
Kenya resumed stronger making serious threats at reducing the deficit and eventually the equalizer. They had to wait four minutes from time when captain Vivian Corazone pulled one back from the spot after she was brought down by Ethiopian defender Kidist Zeleke.
The Junior Lucys’ could not hold on to their lead in the stoppage time when Maureen Khakasa fired a low drive past Ethiopian custodian Tigist Abera.
The Starlets went back home with a deserved draw while Ethiopia faces an uphill task after fortnight when the two nations lock horn in the return leg in a fortnight, with the winnetr advancing to the penultimate round.
Two teams will emerge from the African qualifiers to represent the continent at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup scheduled for 5-24 August 2018 in France.
15.09.2017 Algiers Algeria 0-5 Ghana
16.09.2017 Conakry Guinea 0-9 Cameroon
16.09.2017 Benin City Nigeria 3-0 Tanzania
16.09.2017 Sale Morocco 2-0 Senegal
17.09.2017 Johannesburg South Africa 5-0 Namibia
17.09.2017 Hawassa Ethiopia 2-2 Kenya
Burundi vs Rwanda*
*Tunisia vs Sierra Leone