Machakos — A Samwel Onyango brace and an Omar Mbongi deflected freekick was not enough as 10-man Ulinzi Stars bowed out of the CAF Confederations Cup 4-3 on aggregate despite beating Egyptian side Smouha 3-0 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday evening.
The soldiers were reduced to 10 men early in the second half after midfielder John Kago got his marching orders with two yellow cards within a bracket of seven minutes, and the numerical disadvantage could have worked against them.
Ulinzi needed a 4-0 win to force the game to penalties and a 5-0 outright win to advance coming off a 4-0 loss in the first leg played in Alexandria a fortnight ago, but they came just one shy off the minimum target in a match which they played like wounded lions.
"I am proud of the players, we put in a good fight, corrected the mistakes from the first leg and it is only unfortunate that it wasn't enough," Ulinzi Stars head coach Benjamin Nyangweso said after the match.
His opposite number Moanen Soliman was full of praise for the military side and said his players were affected by the altitude.
"Ulinzi is a good side and they played like men. They attacked from the word go but for us we did not play well. We didn't win the second balls and that is where we lost the game. Also, my players couldn't run because of less oxygen because this is a high altitude area," he said.
Within the first 10 minutes, Ulinzi were already on the score sheet through Onyango and in the 37th minute the former Sony Sugar striker completed his brace.
Mbongi restored some hope with 15 minutes left, but despite pressure in the final minutes they could not get the important goal to complete the comeback.
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