NAIROBI, Kenya- USM Alger (USMA) head coach, Miloud Hamdi, welcomed the barren draw his side escaped with from their CAF Confederations Cup clash with hosts Gor Mahia FC in Nairobi on Wednesday night.
The result leaves the seven-time Algerian Ligue 1 champions still perched at the top of Group D with four points, two above Gor in their bid to qualify for the knockout quarter final phase of the competition.
Rayon Sport (two) and Yanga SC from Rwanda and Tanzania in that order round off the pool where the top two will make the last eight of the Confed Cup.
“This was a very tough match. The wet and muddy pitch was also not friendly but I’m happy to get a point in Nairobi. Playing against 10 men is never easy, sometimes my team plays better when down by a man.
“We are in this competition to win and the same goes for Gor and their coach. We cannot say we are playing to make the quarter, semis or the finals,” Hamdi said in his post-match briefing.
Hamdi also hailed the 0-0 outcome in the other group fixture where Yanga where held at home by Rayon in Dar-es-Salaam.
“This result ensured we are still on top of the standing, we will continue with this momentum so we can win our remaining games,” he said.
Hamdi claimed the condition of the wet pitch at the newly re-laid Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, inhibited his side from playing their brand of football.
“We played against a good team with good players who were always running. We were forced to take out the ball quickly on this pitch. My players are used to playing short passes on the turf and we could not do this here,” the USMA boss charged.
Despite taking the initiative in the group, Hamdi was under no illusion his side had done enough to finish at the top when the group phase of the second-tier CAF competition concludes in August.
“We have played two games and there are four left. We must make sure we win all our matches in Algeria, this is not finished yet,” he cautioned.
Hamdi led his side to thump Tanzanian heavyweights Yanga 4-0 at home in their previous outing in the Confed Cup as Gor forced Rayon to a 1-1 stalemate in Kigali.
They take on the Rwandese side next hoping to stretch their advantage before facing Yanga away and finishing their group engagements with Gor at home.
USM Alger Line-up
Starting XI: Mohamed Lamine, Ayoub Abdellaoui, Mohamed Benyahia, Faroukh Chafai, Fouazi Yaya, Kadoour Beldjilalai, Okacha Hamzaoui, Reda Hahouji, Meziane Abderahmane, Oualid Ardji, Oussama Darfalou.
Subs: Smail Mansouri, Amir Sayoud, Mohamed Amine, Qualid Arji, Redouame Cherifi, Rafik Bouderbal.