Former Kenyan champions Ulinzi Stars are through to the next round of the CAF Confederation Cup after eliminating Libyan side Al Hilal Benghazi 5-4 on post-match penalties Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani in Nairobi on Saturday.
The Kenya soldiers fought hard to tie their preliminary round 1-1on aggregate with a Samuel Onyango early goal that sent the encounter into the lottery of post-match penalty kicks.
Benghazi won the first leg match 1-0 in Cairo a week ago.
Oscar Wamalwa, Baron Oketch, Samuel Oyango, Mark Makwatta and Omar Mbongi converted their spot kicks to send the Kenya Defence Forces side through in a tension-packed shoot-out.
There was a moment of panic for the Kenyan soldiers when Enosh Ochieng’s penalty was repelled by Benghazi goalkeeper Murad Alwuheeshi, but Ulinzi’s shot stopper James Saruni came to the rescue, punching out Abdalla Alshafi’s effort to send the duel to sudden death.
Steady as a rock Mbongi drove home Ulinzi’s sixth kick while Essam Alamshi lost his nerve, sending his shot rattling out off the crossbar.
Ulinzi coach Benjamin Nyangweso was filled with schadenfreud after the match, saying that he was happy his boys had succeeded in exacting revenge on the Libyans.
“In training we didn’t focus too much on penalties because I believed that we would score more than two goals and proceed to the next stage. I just told the boys to relax and concentrate on the task at hand and although they lost several chances, I am happy that they frustrated the opponent,” he said.
Ulinzi will now face Egyptian side Smouha in the 32-team first round from March 10 with the winner of the round proceeding to the group stage.