Ulinzi suffered a humiliating 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Zamalek on their first appearance in the CAF Champions league at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, on Saturday.
The result was, however, not surprising considering the pedigree of the Egyptian club which boasts of at least five Champions league titles. bWhat was surprising was the huge margin of loss by the local boys who simply fell apart before a huge partisan crown that also included Prime Minister Raila Odinga and other top government officials.
At half time, both teams were level and for a time Ulinzi appeared to have contained their opponents.
Things began falling apart in the 61st minute when second half substitute Collins Ochieng' brought down Hussein El Mohawari in the hosts' penalty box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Mahmoud Fathalla scored from the penalty spot. The goal seemed to have disoriented the home side and the Ulinzi defence just crumbled. Moharawi was instrumental in initiating the second goal after breaking away from the Ulinzi defence to put through Mohammed Razak who simply tapped home in the 69th minute.
Zamalek were not done yet and seven minutes later Mohammed Amine netted the third goal after taking advantage of a defensive lapse. As Zamalek players celebrated a section of fans walked out of the stadium in frustration.
Ibrahim Salah completed the rout in injury time and this time goalkeeper Francis Ochieng' will blame himself for failing to clear an easy ball.
Earlier in the first half, the home side appeared determined to cause an upset as they found themselves in the Zamalek half time and again.
Ulinzi were particularly strong in the right flank where they initiated their attacks from and always found space through the Zamalek defence.
Their best chance was in the 13th minute when Zamalek goalkeeper Alwahed Elsay stopped a dangerous header from Evans Amuoka. Amuoka was also responsible for another impressive attempt in the 32nd minute but shot wide.
Ulinzi coach Benjamin Nyangweso said the penalty the conceded resulting in the first goal destroyed the team’s morale from which they could not recover.
“It is a disappointing result for us. We did not expect it to end this way. We started very well but that penalty killed us. I had told my players not to concede an away goal but when it happened they could not recover from it,” he said.
Ulinzi face a huge task in the return leg match to be played after two weeks.