The away side created better scoring chances through swift counter attack movements while the Horsemen failed to register a single shot on target although they saw much of the possession. The visitors put up a fantastic performance to surprise the Addis Ababa outfit.
A magnificent and electrifying atmosphere created by the home fans ignited Saint George to take full control of the game from the onset. Five minutes into the start, Saint George left back Abebaw Butako set up Asechalew Tamene from a free kick effort to break the deadlock but the later headed over the bar from close range.
Three minute later, the visitors presented with a chance when Paul Mucureezi dispossessed Mulualem Mesfin and fired at goal but Robert Odongkara was equal to the task as he parry away the ball to safety. KCCA, yet again, looked dangerous and Ugandan international Derrick Nsibambi tested an altered Odongkara in the 16th minute but to no avail. As the minutes went by, the home side made sure they closed the flanks to stifle KCCA from having a swift transition to attack. Mesfin headed over the cross bar in the 19th minute before Burkinabe import Abdulkerim Nikima skied his effort from range.
Saint George kicked off the second interval on a high as a dominant display on the left flank gave them the edge over KCCA. Midfielder Gadissa Mebrate’s ambitious effort from distance sailed wide four minutes after the resumption.
In the 59th minute, Abubakher Sanni spurred a Nikima’s perfect delivery. Five minutes later Muzamir Mutyaba’s free kick cross was met by the unmarked Nsibambi whose effort rattled the bar leaving Odongkara glued to his post.
With the hope of getting goals, the home side brought on Salahdin Said and his fellow Ethiopian international Behailu Assefa. The two combined to create a glorious chance for the home side nonetheless, Said missed a free header from 3 meters out. In the last ten minutes Saint George opted for long balls where KCCA defenders found it easy to clear the ball away and cause havoc to the home side defenders who opened that much spaces behind.
Saint George’s poor domestic form persisted to haunt them in the continental stage. The record Ethiopian champions have now to overcome KCCA, who are looking for a maiden group stages appearance, in the return leg in Kampala next week, if they are about to progress to the group stages.
Manuel Vaz Pinto (Head Coach, Saint George)
Firstly, I want to send out my gratitude to our fans for their fantastic support. The game had two different parts. In the first half, we relied on the right flank to create some situations. I think it is important to get the ball into the box and we failed to do that. We commanded the game as we were aware of the quality of KCCA. They like to play on counter attacks having three players upfront who have got pace. Now we need to get back to work and try to get goals in Kampala. Our objectives were to win the tie and not concede at home.
Mike Mutebi (Head Coach, KCCA)
I am happy with the result though we could have done better. The tie is not over yet. We still have a second leg to play and I believe the tie will be decided in the second leg.
Tuesday, 6 March 2018
Al Ahly (Egypt) 4-0 Mounana (Gabon)
Horoya (Guinea)2-1 Generation Foot (Senegal)
Young Africans (Tanzania) 1-2 Township Rollers (Botswana)
Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) 4-2 Plateau United (Nigeria)
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Saint George (Ethiopia) 0-0 KCCA (Uganda)
Zanaco (Zambia) 1-2 Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)
Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco) 7-2 Williamsville AC (Cote d’Ivoire)
Aduana (Ghana)1-0 ES Setif (Algeria)
MFM (Nigeria) 2-1 MC Alger (Algeria)
Gor Mahia (Kenya) 0-0 Esperance (Tunisia)
AS Togo (Togo) 2-0 El Hilal (Sudan)
Zesco (Zambia) 0-1 ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire)
TP Mazembe (DR Congo) 4-0 UD Songo (Mozambique)
Difaa Hassan (Morocco) 1-0 AS Vita (DR Congo)
Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) 1-0 Bidvest (South Africa)
Rayon Sports (Rwanda) 0-0 Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)