NAIROBI, Kenya- Gor Mahia FC head coach, Dylan Kerr, praised his charges for fighting tooth and nail to secure a point against visiting Algerian outfit, USM Alger (USMA) on Wednesday.
The barren draw at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani left the SportPesa Premier League champions in second place in Group D of their 2018 CAF Confederations Cup and still with a chance to top the pool.
USMA are top on four with Rayon Sports (two) and Yanga SC (one) rounding off the standings after they also shared a 0-0 stalemate in Tanzania on Wednesday.
“We played good football in an uneven field. We dominated the game. We defended magnificently in the second half,” Kerr underlined.
“To have a clean sheet at home against a very good side can never be taken lightly, it was a piece of work,” he underscored.
Kerr admitted that being reduced to 10 after defender Joash Onyango was sent off in the early minutes of the second half for two yellow cards piled pressure on his side.
“I felt that Joash’s red card was a bit harsh. This incident was so unfortunate,” said Kerr who rued the chances they missed in the first half, especially when George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo hit the woodwork after his initial shot was saved by the USMA keeper.
“We had opportunities but we failed to execute them. I also feel we were denied two penalties but as you know in football, referee’s decision is final. Nonetheless, I savor the point we earned from the game,” he rued.
The coach confessed goals are still hard to come by for his side having scored only once at home in the second tier continental competition this season when they beat South Africans SuperSport United 1-0 in the first leg of their Confed Cup play-off in Machakos.
However, he promised to find solution to the goal-drought as he seeks to top the group of at least finish second to progress to the next phase of the competition.
The British tactician pledged to work harder to push his players beyond their limits and ensure they finish top of the pool.
“Our aim is to qualify for the quarterfinals and the draw we had today has made the group to be wide open.
“We are going to capitalize on this to realise our dream. I’m confident that we can finish on top or as runner-ups. This is very achievable,” he stressed.
Kerr accused USMA of un-sportsmanship behavior, accusing their players of going down too easily, calling on officials to rein in on North African sides.
“I think referees should learn how to stop time wasting tactics in the field. It is so frustrating when one side is out not to play but to ruin the game with outdated schemes,” Kerr lamented.
Kerr said their next fixture against Yanga of Tanzania at home on July 17 is a must win. The return leg in Dar-es-Salaam will be after 10 days.
GOR MAHIA’S CAF CONFEDERATIONS CUP FIXTURES
May 6, 2018: Rayon Sports (Rwanda) vs Gor Mahia
May 16, 2018: Gor Mahia vs US Alger (Algeria)
July 17, 2018: Gor Mahia vs Young Africans (Tanzania)
July 27, 2018: Young Africans (Tanzania) vs Gor Mahia
Aug 17, 2018: Gor Mahia vs Rayon Sports (Rwanda)
Aug 28, 2018: USM Alger (Algeria) vs Gor Mahia