Eric Johanna warms up for Harambee Stars with a goal as UTA Arad secure dramatic victory

Kenya's Eric Johanna in action for his Romanian club UTA Arad. Photo: UTA Arad

STARS ABROAD Eric Johanna warms up for Harambee Stars with a goal as UTA Arad secure dramatic victory

Joel Omotto 14:00 - 19.03.2024

Kenya’s Eric Johanna made an instant impact off the bench as he begun a second half fightback for his Romanian club UTA Arad who won a playoff match in dramatic fashion.

Harambee Stars attacker Eric Johanna will join the national team in confident mood after coming off the bench to score for his club UTA Arad as they started their relegation-playoff campaign with a last-minute 4-3 victory on Monday.

Johanna, who has been a mainstay in the team this season, came on after halftime when his side were trailing 2-1 against Vuluntari but restored parity five minutes later.

The Kenyan international wasted little time to make an impact, handing the home side hope in the 50th minute with what was his third goal for the club this season.

Alexandru Tudorie would extend the hosts’ lead in the 79th minute before George Merloi leveled for Voluntari in the second minute of time added on with the game looking to be headed for a 3-3 draw.

However, late drama ensued when UTA Arad snatched the winner four minutes later through Joao Pedro as the home side started their relegation-promotion journey in victorious fashion.

It was Johanna’s first goal for the Romanian side since February 4, 2024 when he bagged a brace against Universitatea Cluj as UTA Arad won 3-1 in the regular season. Johanna had scored his first goal for the club on January 27 against Sepsi Sf Gheorghe when his team won 2-1.

The Kenyan, who can play as an attacking midfielder or a winger, has also provided four assists for the team, a fruitful return for a player who did not have a club until October.

Joining UTA Arad earn him a recall into the Harambee Stars squad ahead of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers last November and after sitting on the bench in the 2-1 loss to Gabon, he played 65 minutes of Kenya’s 5-0 thrashing of Seychelles, providing one assist.

Johanna will therefore hope to continue making an impact for his club to maintain his place in the national team and he can also look forward to a fruitful campaign at the Four Nations tournament in Malawi this week.

UTA Arad missed out on the Romanian Super League playoff after finishing eighth in the regular season and will now have to finish in the top six of the 10-team promotion-relegation playoff to retain their top-flight status.

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