Ethiopia champions, St. George, cruised past Cote D’Or 2-0 in their first leg preliminary round clash on Saturday away at the Amitie Stadium in Praslin.
Striker Salahdin Said scored in either half to ensure victory for the ‘Horsemen’ ahead of the return leg in Hawassa next weekend.
It is the second season running that St George was drawn against a team from the tiny island of Seychelles and so they were in familiar territory. The visitors almost took the lead in the 14th minute when Natnaez Zeleke’s through ball to his captain Adane Grima flew across the face of goal.
The host then had two chances to break the deadlock, firstly in the 16th minute after a good move involving Malagasy-import Jean Tigana and Dine Suzette before the ball was played crossfield to Gerald Basset who headed to Collin Bibi but his shot on the turn sailed wide.
On the half hour mark, Cote D’Or had a much better chance from Tigana’s brilliant threaded pass to Suzette who shot tamely at goalie Robert Ondongkara.
The visitors opened the scoring in this match in the 40th minute. A Behailli Assefa’s teasing cross, which the Cote D’Or defender Benoit Marie tried to cut out but the ball hit his goalie Jean-Paul Lesperance and fell to the lurking Salahdin, who bundled the ball over the goal line to make it 1-0.
St George almost added to the scoreline in the 42nd minute after Abubeker Sani Abdela’s pinpoint cross met the head of Girma, whose glancing header flew narrowly wide as the local team rode their luck.
The Ethiopian champions bossed the second period as the home team appeared out of steam and captain Girma forced a good low save out of goalie Lesperance in the 52nd minute after Assefa put him through.
The visitors doubled their lead on the hour mark. Assefa’s splitting pass found Salahdin who outwitted Cote D’Or captain, Jones Joubert, and goalie Lesperance who had rushed out of his goal, to slip the ball into an empty net for the second goal.
The visitors remained in total control as the host just dropped back with the intent on damage limitation and St George ran out easy winners in the end for a good win away to take home this weekend.
Ralph Jean-Louis (Head Coach, Cote D’Or)
We had a decent first half where we had chances to score but then we gave away a goal. Our level dropped in the second period. We are still in preparation stage for the new season and therefore we struggled to maintain the high intensity. We are gradually improving and we hope for a better match in the second leg.
Jones Joubert (Captain, Cote D’Or)
We started well and should have taken the lead but failed to score. We were then punished for a lapse of concentration which gave our opponent the confidence and made things difficult for us in the second half.
Mart Nooij (Head Coach, St. George)
It was a solid performance from my team as we played with penetration from midfield. We should have scored earlier and made the most of our luck to open the score. In the second half, we enjoyed the game and we got a second goal, as our opponents were more cautious.
Adane Girma (Captain, St. George)
The heat really affected us as we took time to settle, but once we went up front, we were in control. It was not a difficult match where we could have scored more but overall it was a very good result.
Friday, 10 February 2017
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