Reds remain upbeat despite humbling defeat
After falling to a shock 1-0 defeat to Madagascan minnows Elgeco Plus at the National Stadium over the weekend, Gaborone United’s African adventure is in danger of ending before it really began.
The Reds have it all to do in Anananarivo this Sunday if they are to avoid an embarrassing exit from the CAF Confederations Cup at the preliminary stage.
Despite Saturday’s setback, GU Coach, Pontsho Piro Moloi insisted his team were still well-placed to progress.
Adamant that the better side lost on the day, the 41-year-old tactician bemoaned his side’s bashfulness in front of goal, noting they created enough chances to put the two-legged tie to bed.
Instead of sleeping comfortably, they now have a steep slope to scale in the mountainous Madagascan capital if they are to secure safe passage through to the next round, where SuperSport United lie in wait.
“We’ve made the game unnecessarily difficult for ourselves. However, I believe my boys will rectify their mistakes. We stand a good chance and have 90 minutes to turn things around. They managed to score away and we are also capable of doing it,” stressed Moloi, speaking to Voice Sport after the game.
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Trying his best to put a positive slant on the state of the knockout tie, the youthful coach added, “In my opinion, we are at a good advantage because playing away and scoring a goal is a plus for us, then the game is right back to square one. We score a goal or two then the pressure is on them.”
Reflecting on the 1-0 loss, secured in the 25th minute when Plus midfielder, Gilles Razafimaro capitalized on new number one, Ookeditse Semelamela’s poor handling to score the game’s only goal, Moloi reiterated the result was tough to take.
“We should have won this game by a comfortable margin, it leaves a sour taste. We missed so many chances!” moaned Moloi.
Strikers, Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Poloko Nkalolang will be especially keen to make amends on Sunday, having been particularly poor with their finishing.
Meanwhile, in the opposite dugout, Elgeco Plus’ ecstatic Coach, Raux Auguste was full of praise for the Money Machine, telling Voice Sport he was over the moon to be leaving Gaborone with an away win.
“I’m so impressed by my boys’ performance, they followed the instructions and stuck to the game plan. Scoring an away goal is so important,” said Auguste, adding his team would not be getting carried away and are well aware there is still much to play for.
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“GU are a very good side despite missing scoring chances. We must prepare thoroughly for the upcoming match because I am anticipating another challenging encounter looking at their strong play. It was a long trip coming to Botswana and my players were fatigued hence we were more defensive. Credit to the boys for putting up a good play despite the fatigue,” ended Auguste, beaming with pride as he addressed journalists in the post-match press conference.
It is a smile Moyagoleele must wipe away at the daunting Stade Kianja Barea, a world-class stadium which sits 40, 880.
GU embark on the draining 2, 340km journey to the island nation on Friday; they will have to come up with something special to ensure it’s not their last continental trip of the season!