Ten man Ulinzi Stars of Kenya are through to the last eight at the Cecafa Kagame cup after a highly physical gme ended in a goaless draw which effectively eliminated defending champions APR of Rwanda at the Jamhuri stadium in Morogoro.
This was billed as the battle of the military and surely lived up to the intensity of the battle .
Ulinzi thus finished second in Group C with five points, two points behind St.George who topped the Group of death with seven points.
APR started the match in a combative mood attacking from the start but the impressive Jactone Odhiambo in goal for Ulinzi produced a man of the match performance throughout the match even saving a 25th minute penalty by APR captain Mbuyu Twite when Referee Ibada Ramadhani Kibo from Zanzibar pointed to the spot following a ball handling incident by defender Josiah Odhiambo.
Jactone Odhiambo had earlier pulled an early stop off a powerful shot by Victor Nyirenda in the 7th minute and another pin point shot by Jean Claude Iranzi in the 21st minute .
. A resurgent Ulinzi stars came back strongly in the second half with Stephen Waruru’s effort parried for a corner by APR’s Jean Luc Ndayashime .He would be denied by the post in the 59th minute with keeper Ndayashime well beaten.
Ulinzi stars suffered a setback as hardworking defender Josiah Odhiambo limped off the pitch injured.He would be replaced by Richard Chege in the 70th minute.
They were reduced to ten men in the 78th minute,when Antony Nderitu was red carded by referee Kibo for a second bookable offence
Ulinzi kept up the pressure ,holding on for the draw .They will now meet Sudanese side El Mereikh in the quarter-finals.
Ulinzi coach Benjamin Nyangweso was in a jolly mood when he spoke to SuperSport.com “I am indeed very happy and knocking out a side like APR who were the defending champions is not an easy fete but the players held on despite the setbacks and we emerged victorious”
APR ‘s Dutch coach was more philosophical and he told SuperSport.com “I am indeed disappointed that we could not utilize the many chances we had .It is bitter that we are leaving the tournament so early but in football you win some and you loose some.The team will take a break as this was our last tournament after eleven months of competition”