Ulinzi slump to narrow Confed Cup defeat in Cairo
Ulinzi Stars returned to continental football with a whimper when they lost the first leg of their preliminary CAF Confederation Cup tie against Libyan side Al Hilal 1-0 in Cairo on Friday.
The fixture was played in Egypt due to the volatile situation in Libya but that did not rouse the Kenyan side to shed their away blues in continental football after a lone second half goal proved decisive to leave the soldiers facing a deficit in the return leg in Nairobi.
Ahmed Abar struck the winner in the 62nd minute of the second half and it was credit to Ulinzi who qualified for the Confed Cup as losing finalists in the 2016 GOtv Shield Cup that they escaped with a score they have the capacity to overhaul at home in a fortnight.
Head Coach Benjamin Nyangweso’s side lacked the firepower of marksman John Mark Makwatta after the 2016 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) top scorer failed to secure his passport from the United Kingdom embassy in time.
In his absence, the Military Men lacked any real attacking threat as they labored to break down their opponent’s defence.
The visitors threw bodies forward after going one goal down with striker Baron Oketch – who joined the club on a one-year loan deal from rivals Gor Mahia – leading the assault as they pushed for an equalizer.
A tense last 20 minutes saw two penalty appeals by Ulinzi turned down as the hosts held on to seal a crucial first leg win at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium.
Ulinzi FC Starting XI: James Saruni (GK) (c), Brian Birgen, Omar Mbongi, Geoffrey Kokoyo, Hassan Mohamed, Boniface Onyango, Samuel Onyango, John Kago, Evans Amuoka, Daniel Waweru, Baron Oketch.
Subs: Odhiambo Jacktone (GK), Cylus Shitote, Benson Sande, Churchil Muloma, Kerongo Justine, Ochieng Enosh, Ocholla Stephen.
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