Tusker switch off Solar to set up Zamalek clash
Tusker FC claimed an emphatic 3-0 win over Alexandre Song’s Arta Solar at the Nyayo National Stadium as the Kenyans advanced to the next round of the CAF Champions League with a 4-1 aggregate victory.
The Kenyans will face Egyptian giants Zamalek SC in the next playoff round where the aggregate winner will book a place in the lucrative group stages of the continent’s premier clubs competition.
Shami Kibwana, Ibrahim Joshua and Deogratious Ojok were on target for the Kenyan champions who put on a solid display with the visitors hardly getting any sniff at goal thanks to a near flawless defence marshalled by captain Eugene Asike.
Arta Solar settled in quickly with Alexandre Song setting the early tempo in midfield but a reckless challenge on Ibrahim Joshua inside the box saw Tusker win an early penalty.
Three candidates – Jackson Macharia, Boniface Muchiri and Shami Kibwana – appeared to be all vying to take it and it was Kibwana who ultimately took, dispatching coolly beyond goalkeeper Luyima Sulait.
Solar almost produced an instant response and had the ball in the back of the net but Diafra Sakho’s effort was pulled back for offside after some lovely work from Song.
Tusker doubled their advantage in the 25th minute when Joshua rose to head home from Macharia’s delivery.
Macharia himself was in through for the third after he was picked out cleverly by Clyde Senaji but the midfielder could only shoot straight at Sulait after a wonderful first touch to turn away from his man.
A loose ball in the left flank was nicked by Kibwana who drove at and beat his man before teeing Muchiri but the winger rushed his delivery into penalty area when he could have kept cutting deeper inside the opposition box.
Coach Robert Matano’s men held on to their advantage into the break and almost got a third through Muchiri minutes after the restart but the winger could only send his first-time effort over the bar from Daniel Sakari’s low cross.
Solar had a penalty appeal turned down after Sakho hit an effort into Charles Momanyi with the referee adjudging the defender’s arms were in their natural position when contact was made with the ball.
Goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure was called into action minutes later, reacting quickly to thwart Sibiri Traore from close range.
A dreadful error from Song was pounced on by Kibwana who raced toward goal with only one man to beat and with Joshua Mwakasaba to his right for support. He chose to go all alone and perhaps it was the wrong choice in the end as razed a wild effort into the empty stands.
That marked his last piece of the action with Matano substituting him off for John Njuguna. Another substitution followed quickly with Mwakasaba paving way for Deogratious Ojok.
That last change proved a masterstroke with the Ugandan scoring third with his first touch after getting on the end of a sweeping Tusker move.