Lobi Stars attacking midfielder, Yaya Kone has blamed his team's 0-3 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns in the return leg of the CAF Champions League group tie on the early goals they conceded in the match.
On March 9, the Nigerian representatives conceded three first half goals when they visited the 'Brazilians' in Pretoria and kissed bye to their continental ambition this year.
Lobi Stars are now rooted in last position on the group table with a miserable four points from five matches played.
Their final group match with Asec Mimosa, who won 2-0 against Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in Abidjan is therefore a dead-rubber as it will be of no significance apart from pride.
Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, the Ivorian lamented that although Lobi Stars went to South Africa to win and stay in contention for one of the group tickets, they were reined in by the early goals they conceded.
Mamelodi Sundowns scored their opening goal in the 2nd minute, the second in the 38th minute and the third was added a minute after the second.
"It was not a good outing for us. Although we went to South Africa to give our best for a good result, we conceded the first goal in the second minute of the match and that destabilized us.
"The second and third goals came in quick succession such that our game plan was disorganised. We started chasing the game and that was not good for us.
"In the second half, we fought with everything inside us but it was already late. That loss has not helped our ambition," he said.
The former FC IfeanyiUbah player however said Lobi Stars deserve commendation for getting to the group stage of the competition.
According to him, not many people gave Lobi Stars a chance but they were able to move from the preliminary round to the group stage.
"I think it has not been a bad outing for us. At least we reached the group stage to justify our emergence as champions of Nigeria," he said.