6 June 2017

Ethiopia/Congo-Kinshasa: Salhadin Sinks Congo's As Vita

Salhadin Seid's second half lone goal helped Saint George to collect the full three points with a 1-0 win over DR Congo's AS Vita on Sunday in their CAF Champions League Group C first leg that took place at the Addis Ababa Stadium.

"This was a good opportunity for us to be tough contenders in group C. The win gave us the second place on five points next to the group leaders, Tunisian side Esperance. We wanted the win on home ground and we got it," St. George's assistant coach Fasil Tekalign said at the end of the game.

On Saturday Esperance had a 2-1 win over the South African Mamelodi Sundowns to solidify their Group C leadership on seven points from equal three games. Mamelodi Sundowns are third on four points from three games. Without a point from three games DR Congo's AS Vita are the bottom side in the group.

St. George dropped four points in their first and second CAF Champions League matches. In their opener against Sundowns St. George managed a goalless tie. This was considered to be the best result against the title holders.

But to the disappointment of their fans, St. George dropped another two points against the visiting Tunisian side Esperance finishing by the same goalless tie last week Tuesday.

In connection to this, assistant coach Fasil said that their performance against Esperance was not that good. "Dropping points on home ground is losing our advantage. That was what happened last time. We missed good opportunity that could push us take the top spot in the group," Fasil said.

"Taking lesson from that, we played offensive football from the start. We had two clear scoring opportunities in the first half but they were wasted. In the second half we got the target. Despite the close margin, we managed to collect the full three points," Fasil added.

The goal scorer Salhadin said that he was happy for sending his side in to the group's second place. "If we succeed in advancing in to the quarter-finals stage it will be remarkable for us. That is what we aspire in this competition," Salhadin said.

The stadium was full to capacity. St. George fans took the streets of Addis Ababa chanting and dancing starting from early morning. That could be said pre-match warming up.

Fasil admitted that the support given to them by the crowd was so encouraging more than it was before. "The support actually pushed us to gain such a sweet victory. The people were pushing the players to get the net and they did it," he said.

Right after the match the joy with colourful song made the City a day of celebration. Opposite to what was observed last week Tuesday, the waving of mass flags, ear piercing ululations and other forms of celebrations inside and outside the stadium was observed after the home side emerged victorious.

Salhadin said that they were greeted with amazing victory songs and dances on the streets.

It is true that St. George are in tough Group C. Mamelodi Sundowns are CAF Champions League title holders.

The North African side Esperance are real force to be reckoned with. ST. George are the debutants.

Despite this fact St. George are now fighting as equal partners. Group winners and runners up after six matches advance to the quarter-finals of a competition offering a record $2.5 million first prize this season.

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