Kenya’s representatives in the Caf Confederations Cup Ulinzi Stars are staring at elimination after losing 4-0 to Egyptian side Smouha in the first round first leg match played at the Borg el Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Friday night.
A brace from Islam Mohareb and a goal each from Ahmed Raoof and Mahmoud Abdelaziz gave the hosts a huge advantage heading into the return leg in Nairobi next weekend.
Ulinzi will need in the least to win 4-0 and force the game to penalties or beat the Egyptians by a margin of more than five goals to advance.
Ahmed Raoof broke the deadlock in the 10th minute before Mohareb made it 2-0 10 minutes later with a low shot into the far right.
Smouha had started the match on a fast paced note with Ulinzi yet to settle in and were rewarded with the two early goals.
Ulinzi shot stopper James Saruni was a busy man throughout the opening minutes as he kept his side in the game time and again.
In the second half, the soldiers started brighter, but the absence of top striker John Makwatta, who has left the team, was clearly visible. Despite building play up well from the back, Ulinzi never really threatened and their decision making always let them down.
Coach Benjamin Nyangweso had brought on Baron Oketch for Sylus Shitote to add some attacking impetus and the on-loan Gor man had a 58th-minute long-range effort go over.
On the other end, Saruni was forced into two good saves, one a point blank block from a Mohareb shot while a second was a fierce long range effort.
Smouha then made it 3-0 in the 68th minute with Abdelaziz heading in from a corner. The ref had initially not allowed the goal for a foul on Saruni but upon consultation with his assistant allowed it to stand.
The hosts drilled the final nail in Ulinzi’s coffin in the 86th minute, Mohareb scoring a superb volley after giving the ball a little lift from a Raoof pass.