By GODFREY DUBE At Nkoloma stadium –
Buffaloes 2-0 Al Merreik
GREEN Buffaloes coach Bilton Musonda described his team’s Confederations Cup preliminary round first-leg home win over Al Merreik as sweet.
Musonda has every reason to be excited about this win knowing the first game they played out on continental duty last season ended in a 4-0 defeat to Egyptian side Al Masry, though the tie was away.
In yesterday’s tie, two second-half goals from Friday Samu and Steward Chikandiwa were enough to give Buffaloes a first leg advantage they wished for going into the reverse fixture.
The Zambia Army side was dominant through-out and shut out the visitors who failed to muster an attempt on goal.
Musonda said the team still has another 90 minutes of unfinished business with the South Sudan side in Juba.
“We are expecting a tough return-leg fixture away in Sudan. Al Merreik frustrated us in the first-half but I must congratulate my team for two the second-half goals. We still have unfinished business and it will not be an easy one by any means,” Musonda said.
Al Merreik Coach Simon James said he was not disappointed with the defeat as Buffaloes was a more experienced side compared to his young squad.
James said his side will work extra hard to overturn the result when they play the reverse fixture back home.
“To be honest, I am happy because we have learnt a number of things from Buffaloes. They are good side with quality players. It was a tough game for my side as you saw we had no shot on target,” James said.
Buffaloes started the game like a house on fire but missed all the chances the they created with debutant Chikandiwa and Felix Katongo being major culprits.
Left back Stephen Kabamba had a chance to give Buffaloes the lead in the 30th minute but with only Al Merreik goalie Michael Orji to beat, he ballooned his effort after benefiting from Sebastian Mwansa cross inside the box.
With both teams going on to break at 0-0, Buffaloes came back more determined that saw Friday Samu putting Buffaloes in the lead in the 60th minute after slotting in a Felony Sitonya cross inside the box.
Chikandiwa doubled the lead for Buffaloes direct from a free kick after Mike Katiba was fouled on the edge of the box in the 74th minute.
Buffaloes then played out the win that gives them confidence of progressing to the first round after the return leg.