Sweden based wingback Erick "Marcelo" Ouma came off the bench to provide a brilliant cross that Francis Kahata tapped home as Harambee Stars edged Malawi in an international friendly match at Kasarani stadium on Tuesday.
Stars had been subdued by Malawi dominance until Ouma, who replaced Vasalund teammate Ovella Ochieng at the restart, initiated an attacking move with Abud Omar before delivering a perfect cross that Kahata tapped home past Malawi custodian Brighton Munthali.
The former Gor Mahia youngster had missed the target by a whisker in the 68th minute with his header from Joakins Atudo's cross flying inches wide.
This is the first victory for Stars against Malawi since September 2004 when Kenya saw off the Flames 3-2 at the same venue.
The two sides had battled to a goalless draw in a friendly match in April. Overall, Kenya has won eleven times against Malawi in 51 meetings.
Kenya coach Sebastian Migne made two changes to the team that edged Ghana 1-0 in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier two days ago starting Joackins Atudo and Jesse Were in place of injured duo of Philemon Otieno and Michael Olunga.
Zambia based Were was however a last minute change after Olunga was ruled out minutes to the game.
The Flames, who fell 3-0 away to Morocco in a Group "B" qualifier, got the ball rolling and were the first to test Patrick Matasi in Kenya goal.
Musa Mohammed, captaining the side in the absence of Victor Wanyama and David "Calabar" Owino, fouled Richard Mbulu outside 18 but Gerald Phiri's resultant free kick went wide on the eighth minute.
In the 14th minute, Dennis Odhiambo headed off target Francis Kahata's corner kick after Mzava Limbikani had deflected Ovella Ochieng's cross from the right flank.
The Kenyans donning their red home kit looked lethargic and dull failing to penetrate the Flames' backline led by skipper Limbikani and John Lanjesi.
John Banda beat Abud Omar with pace on the left flank to float in a pin-point cross Phiri attempted to connect home but was denied by a hawk-eyed Matasi who forced a fingertip save before Stars cleared their lines.
Migne did a double change at the start of the second half resting Jesse Were for Sofapaka's Pistone Mutamba and Ouma for Ovella with Malawi coach Ron Van Geneurden pulling out Richard Mbulu for Msowoya Chiukepo in the 54th minute.