CAF CL: Township Rollers coach blames fatigue, early goal for loss to Esperance
Township Rollers coach Nikola Kavazović has blamed fatigue and defensive discipline in the opening minutes of the second half to his team’s 4-1 loss to Esperance in a CAF Champions League match played on Tuesday night in Tunisia.
Youcef Belaili opened the game in the 26th minute after picking Tshepo Motlhabankwe’s misguided header to drive home a powerful low shot. Rollers equalized towards the end of the half through Boy Segolame’s freekick that had taken a deflection on the wall.
The hosts returned fired up in the second period and it took them only 36 seconds to reclaim the lead. Anice Badri fired home from a Bilel Mejri’s assist.
Coach Kavazović strongly believes his team would have picked at least a point from the game if they had contained the hosts in the opening ten minutes of the second half.
“It was because of the early goal,” Kavazović moans.
He adds: “If we had survived the first 10 minutes of the second half, at an away game in front of this many supporters, I doubt that we would have lost this game. It’s difficult, psychologically to get back in the game after the second goal.
“We managed to press for a while, but for the final 15 minutes, the players were exhausted from the long journey and lack of sleep.”
Both Kavazović and his Esperance counterpart Khaled Ben Yahia agree that Township Rollers lost because they were exhausted towards the final part of the game.
“We won because or opponents were exhausted. They could no longer keep up with our pace. If the players had paid more attention, we could have easily won by five or six goals,” said the Esperance coach Ben Yahia.
A Bilel Mejri and the second by Anice Badri summed up the rout in the 78 and 90th minutes respectively.
Esperance lead group A with four points, KCCA follows with three same as Township Rollers in third placed while, surprisingly, record winners Al Ahly are bottom with only one point.