Michael Kruger

Ethiopia’s St. George leaves Cairo with a positive result after holding Egypt’s Zamalek to a 1-1 draw at the Cairo Air Defense Stadium on Saturday. The game marked the first leg of the 2013 Orange CAF Champions League second round encounter, with the return leg scheduled in Addis Ababa in a fortnight. St. George’s German manager Michael Kruger praised his charges’ performance but warned them from Zamalek’s continental experience that could be vital in the second leg.

“I’m happy with this result”, Kruger told Cafonline.com after the game. “It’s not easy to force an away draw with a great team like Zamalek. We studied them well and respected them and that’s why we had this good result. I’m satisfied with my players’ performance. We could have won today but that’s a good step”.

Kruger praised his team’s players and especially his goalkeeper Tadele. “All my players had a great game, but I believe Tadele is the game’s hero. He saved us from some very difficult situations. Zamalek’s keeper (El Sayed) also was awesome and he saved many chances. I believe the draw is well deserved. It’s a good result for us against a former African champion like Zamalek”, Kruger added.

The German manager warned his charges from over confidence before the return leg. “Zamalek will come to Addis Ababa searching for a win, and that will make it a very tough game. Zamalek’s continental experience is much broader than ours and that’s even harder. Yes we had a draw in Cairo, but we won nothing yet. We have to be cautious and determined to win and reach the next round”, he said.

Kruger considered St. George’s mission as a national cause. “St. George represents Ethiopia in the Champions League. It would be great if an Ethiopian team reached the group stage. We have a big responsibility to fulfill, but we can do it and qualify to the group stage. That would be amazing”, Kruger concluded.

The return leg is to be played after two weeks time at the National Stadium in Addis Ababa, with the aggregate winner qualifying to the mini league stage of the continent’s premier club competition.