Nairobi — Tusker FC will clash with AFC Leopards at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, Robert Matano coming up against his former employers as he looks to put the brewers' campaign back on track following a tough start.
Both sides have had a difficult beginning to the season, with Leopards winning only once in 12 outings, and new coach Tomas Trucha in dire need of three points.
Leopards' only victory was a 1-0 harvest away to Nzoia Sugar in Bungoma, and since then, they have lost once and drawn three. They drew with Sofapaka and Posta Rangers, both 1-1, in their last two matches and Trucha says he saw improved performances in both matches.
"We have been doing well over the last few matches and playing better. We just need to improve on our scoring. We build well, but when it comes to the final third, we have some aspects of our composure lacking," Trucha said after their last game against Sofapaka.
The poor start has seen them willow deep down in the red zone, and they are currently placed 16th on the log with 10 points, just one off the relegation zone. Victory will pull them further up the table, and Trucha's charges know only too well what is expected of them.
They come up against a wounded lion in Matano, with his side having struggled for much of the opening matches of the season.
But, the brewers won their last match against City Stars almost three weeks ago before the international break. They have not had a match since then, as their game against Bidco United was cancelled due to lack of a venue.
The team has had more time to rest and will come into the tie fresher, seeking to make it back to back wins.
They have been boosted with the return of defenders Tom Teka and Charles Momanyi, who are expected to be part of the match day squad for the duel on Monday afternoon.
Their last three matches have seen them work with a makeshift central defense with Momanyi, Teka and skipper Eugene Asike all missing through injury, while Michael Kibwage was suspended for one.
But now, they are back to almost full compliments and are looking to seize the occasion and battle for maximum points, to move into the top 10 bracket.
Tusker has beaten Leopards in all their last three meetings. Last season, they won both alternate legs by identical 1-0 scorelines.