Good morning Everyone
Our CAF Confederations Cup semifinal failed to go as we planned. Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca came in with a simple game plan – take in all we can and pounce on our mistakes. It did feel like Zamalek all over as I mentioned on the blog yesterday. Here’s my three things from that game.
1. We were very below par: It was evident from the early running and throughout the game. Make no mistakes about it, this wasn’t J Atete or Rayon Sport but we made it easy for them. Being razor-sharp would have helped make our lives easier but perhaps the number of games we had played in such a short time had come back to haunt us.
It was worse in the closing moments when we were looking for a goal – it never felt like happening. A lot of people say not to blame the fixture congestion we had ahead of this fixture but without those games, we would have been at least, fresher.
2. Experienced opposition makes it even tougher: One thing was clear – we were against a wild witty fox. Playacting, running down the clock, watering down the momentum when we had it, we were playing against a team well versed in the Continent. They knew what to do at each point. They stepped up soon before and after the break and FairPlay to them, they nicked the goal they wanted.
From then on, it was tough. It did feel like Zamalek in Port Harcourt all over. Meanwhile, why does it always rain when we have an important game to play?
3. It’s not game over even though it feels that way: What would have been the best cushion going into the second leg? A 3-0 win? Well, three seasons ago, this team took a 3-0 win against Etoile up North Africa. The result? 3-3 ok aggregate by full-time and we did progress on penalties.
A home win is ideal, I mean it would have had us making all the noises but the second leg remains crucial. It’s 90 minutes and although it doesn’t feel that way, we can only hope for a better performance.
I’ll end with this. I won’t fault the players. Not one of them. They did their best. And at this stage, that’s really all that’s required of you.
Corner-kick follows shortly.