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Caf Champions League: Matano upbeat Tusker will knock out Arta Solar

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango | September 12th 2021
Coach Tusker FC Robert Matano giving instruction to players during FKF Premier League against Sofapaka FC at Kasarani on Sunday, Jan 3, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Tusker head coach Robert Matano is optimistic they will proceed to the next round of the Caf Champions League after playing out to a 1-1 draw against Arta Solar 7 in Djibouti.

New signing Ibrahim Joshua opened his account with Tusker by giving the visitors the lead in the 14th minute before former AS Monaco winger Alain Traore levelled the scores in the match which was played behind closed doors.

The FKF Premier League champions Tusker have one foot into the first round of the Caf Champions League after picking up a crucial away goal in the first leg of the preliminary round on Saturday.

Speaking to the Standards Sports, Matano who blamed technicalities and hot weather in the build up to the match said they will be ready for the Djiboutian champions in Nairobi.

Matano said the team did not work together after travelling separately via Ethiopia and Doha and could only train together for an hour on Friday before match day.

 “It was difficult to work together as a team considering we were in a different group. Technicalities also affected our game plan where we had to make final changes in our starting lineup.”

“However, I am happy with how we played. Everyone gave their best in the hot humid temperatures which showed the resilience and flexibility of the team when things are not going as planned.”

Matano says he is looking forward to win the match rather than banking on the away goal advantage.

“Arta Solar is beatable and we are going to be ready for them come Saturday. Our focus is not on the away goal at all as we want to win and move to the next stage,” explained Matano.

“We conceded from a set-piece which is always unlikely for us and those are some of the mistakes we are going to rectify ahead of the second leg. It was a generally good performance from the boys after all the problems and we will be ready.

Tusker will host the second leg on Saturday at Nyayo National Stadium hoping to proceed to the first round.

If the brewers knock out Arta Solar in the preliminary round, they will meet Egyptian giants Zamalek in the first round with the first leg set for October 15-17 and the second leg between October 22-24.

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