Fighting Ulinzi Stars crushed Egypt’s Smouha 3-0 in their Confederation Cup first round, second leg match at Machako’s Kenyatta Stadium on Saturday but were still eliminated 4-3 on aggregate.
Samuel Onyango’s brace and Omar Mbongi’s solo strike completed a comprehensive win but it was not enough as they could not reverse the 4-0 loss they had registered in the first leg last Friday in Alexandria.
Coach Benjamin Nyangweso praised his boys for the gallant fight, and urged them to replicate the day’s determined performance in the Kenyan Premier League games when they begin their campaign.
"They have worked very hard today. Our plan today was to attack from the first minute, because we were at home. I didn't want them to give the opponent any space. I wanted them to force them (Smouha) to use long balls.
"We have come so close and we have lost, but there have been good lessons to be learned in the four games we have played in Africa," he said.
It appeared that the soldiers had learned important aspects of their opponents play from the first leg match as they seemed well-armed in the home match.
Onyango was particularly impressive during the match and a little more precision his execution could have seen him score no less than four goals in the match.
He gained entry into the score sheets in the 10th minute after turning in a nice cross from Daniel Waweru, and completed his brace 27 minutes later after making an to beat Smouha goalkeeper Mahdi Mohammed.
John Kago was rightly sent off in the opening minutes of the second half for his second yellow card.
Still Ulinzi managed a third goal on via Mbongi’s corner kick on 77 minutes.
The elimination though underlined Ulinzi’s poor record in Africa where they have never gone beyond this stage in all competitions.