Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has praised his team for earning a point away in heat and on a big‚ heavy field in neutral Ghana in their 0-0 opening Caf Confederation Cup Group A draw against ES Setif of Algeria on Wednesday night.
The home match for Setif was played at Accra Sports Stadium‚ site of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations final, due to concerns raised by the Algerian authorities over Covid-19.
Setif perhaps edged the chances‚ but not by much‚ and Pirates worked hard to create opportunities against the characteristically physical and excellently organised north African outfit.
“It’s not easy to play here. It’s a different grass and field. It’s much bigger and longer than our home fields. The weather is very hot‚” Zinnbauer said after the game.
“For both teams I think this was a very hot night to work. But we were good in the game. I think most of the time we had the edge.
“But we have to say we played against a top team‚ very good in transition‚ and they had good opportunities with these counterattacks. But we always had good situations and good solutions.
“At the end of the day it was a deserved point. Both teams fought for the point‚ ran and fought to win the duels.
“The opponents had a few more chances. But for us it’s an away game and we have a point‚ and that was important – that was the first target for us.”
Enyimba lead the group after a 2-1 opening home win against Libya’s Al Ahly Benghazi. The Nigerian outfit‚ Pirates and Setif are likely to be in a tight three-way contest for the top two places to reach the quarterfinals.
Setif have never won the Confed Cup‚ but were Caf Champions League winners in 1988 and 2014.
“Compliments to my team. This was a hot day and hard work and they deserved this one point‚” Zinnbauer said.
“We have had an away game‚ and we got a point. We did not play against a team that cannot play football. This is a Champions League team. They are a good team and you saw it on the field.
“Don’t forget we have maybe eight payers not available. I have to give compliments to my team.
“This was a tough game. Their coach [Nabil Kouki] also said that. Nabil said‚ ‘hot weather‚ deep grass compared to our fields’.
“Then we have a home game and we will have to see what happens in our stadium‚ on our grass.
“We did well. We did not have a top game. But it’s not possible against this opponent. They are a top opponent. They made our day very hard.”
Pirates host Enyimba at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.
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