Tusker FC grabbed a 1-1 draw away to Arta Solar 7 of Djibouti in the first preliminary round of the Caf Champions League at El Hadj Hassan Gouled on Saturday.
Ibrahim Joshua opened the scoring for the Kenyans, but Alain Traore's curler ensured the spoils were shared ahead of the second leg.
Protus Kirenge, Jimmy Mbugua, Charles Momanyi, Joshua Ibrahim, and Daniel Sakari were given their debuts by coach Robert Matano who was keen to start the continental campaign on a high.
In the early exchanges, both teams employed a cautious approach as neither wanted to concede first. But as time went by, it was the Kenyan heavyweights who showed their hunger for goals as they tried to push forward.
Their efforts paid dividends in the 14th minute when Ibrahim hit the target with his half volley.
The hosts sensed danger and did not wait for the Brewers to score the second; they upped their tempo and leveled a minute later. They managed to win a free-kick 30-yards from the danger zone. Alain Traore stepped up, expertly beat the wall and Emery Mvuyekure in the Tusker goal for the equaliser.
The Football Kenya Federation Premier League champions felt they should have been handed a penalty when Daniel Sakari was brought down in the danger zone, but the referee waved play on.
Jackson Macharia also had a massive chance to hit the back of the net, and was under no pressure, but he shot straight at the goalkeeper.
In the 56th minute, Mvuyekure had to be alert to deny Arta forward Gabriel who had found his way past the defenders.
Tusker would have grabbed their second goal in the 75th minute through a swift counter-attack. It started with Boniface Muchiri who picked Sakari's run on the right. The defender crossed the ball to substitute John Njuguna who failed to hit the target with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Five minutes later, Arta Solar also wasted their chance. Diafra Sakho found his way into the danger zone but failed to capitalise on the advantage as he shot just wide.
In the end, the spoils were shared but the Brewers have a slim advantage ahead of the second leg on September 18.