Harambee Stars gave out an assured display to pip guest nation Malawi 1-0 and confirm their place in the last four of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala Uganda.
Substitute Mike Barasa rose to the occasion diverting Abdalla Juma's long range shot with his head to wrongfoot Charles swini and give Kenya the win in the 57th minute.
Malawi kicked off the match but were immediately dispossessed by the Kenyans with Clifton Miheso storming down the left flank and sending in a cross that Bernard Mangoli and Rama Salim could not get to.
As has been their custom at this regional championships, Stars created half a chance in the opening few minutes with Gor Mahia's Edwin Lavatsa shooting wide after a pass from left back Abdalla Juma.
Malawi also made some dangerous incursions into the Kenyan half with Joseph Kamwendo, Chiukwepo Msowoya and Miciem Mhone threatening.
Miheso was really having a good time on the left, constantly putting Steve Changoma under pressure and once forced a free kick that Rama shot onto the wall for a corner which Juma swung in only for skipper Kimani Anthony to head just wide off the far post
Miheso and Rama got on each others way when running for a good ball inside the box allowing the Malawians quickly cleared their lines. Mangoli enjoying one of his better performances in a Stars shirt limped off injured to be replaced by team-mate Mike Barasa whose first contribution was to attract a foul from which Joakins Atudo shot straight into the waiting arms of the flames custodian Charles Swini as both teams went into the break without scoring.
The second half resumed slowly with neither side threatening but out of the blues with 57 minutes played Stars took the lead.
Sofapaka left back Juma was left with space and he sent speculative shot goalwards that looked easy for Swini but Barasa used his height to redirect the ball onto the left leaving the Malawian goalkeeper stranded with no choice but to pick the ball form the net.
Kinnah Phiri's side sought an immediate response but it was not forthcoming as the Kenyan defenders stood firm leaving the Flames vulnerable to a counter. Rama wasted such a chance when Kenya broke down a Malawian attack only for the Gor front man to shoot high and wide when a pass to Lavatsa down the right would have been a better choice. Anthony Muki Kimani came on for Miheso as Kenya looked to close down the game.
Malawi tested Stars keeper Duncan Ochieng with high balls with Innocent Bokosi forcing a good save and Msowoya heading just wide in the 82nd minute
Kariobangi Sharks 18 year-old captain Patilla Omotto was brought into the fray with five minutes to go to replace Rama Salim and created a history of sorts by becoming the first player from the Kenya Second Division league to represent Kenya at the regional championships as Stars held on for their 1-0 win.
Barasa goal takes Kenyans past Malawi in Challenge Cup quarters: