Ngorongoro Heroes thrashed Sudan 3-1 in the first leg match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday to stay in an advantageous position as far as qualifying for the next stage is concerned and a draw of any margin in the return leg will see the Tanzanians through.
Poulsen believes the convincing win that his boys garnered on Saturday offers hope of a successful campaign but the team needs to score more goals in the away duel, to be played after the next two weeks, to assure itself of qualification for the following round. “For the return leg, we have to score some more goals…if we score, they will be under pressure”, he said.
He said he was impressed by his side’s performance in the first 15 minutes of the match but he was concerned with the loss of concentration by the players in the latter stages of the match, which saw them concede the consolation goal by Sudan.
“The boys gave a good performance… they played very well in the first 20 minutes but then, they forgot the discipline and started to give the opponents some space and they conceded the goal in the closing stages. I was not happy with the last 15 minutes”, he said.
“All in all, I’m happy with the win…we created chances and scored. For me, the good thing is creating chances and scoring…we scored three goals and that is very important”, added Poulsen. Ngorongoro Heroes had an upper hand for the better part of the first half and created plenty of chances, which could have seen them come out with a rather bigger win had they exploited them.
The hosts’ attacking partnership of Thomas Ulimwengu and Simon Msuva posed much trouble on the Sudan defence, which struggled to deal with the former’s pace throughout. Sudan’s head coach, Azhari Osman, said lack of international friendly match affected his side in the match but praised his boys for bouncing back during the closing stages to eventually notch the consolation.
Towering striker, Sharafeldin Shaiboub, headed in the visitors’ only goal in the 89th minute off a cross from the left to give his side some hope but Ngorongoro Heroes stood firm for the remainder of the game to realize the victory. “In the first 20 minutes, Tanzania’s performance was better but, b when we did some substitutions, we started playing well.
Hopefully, in the return leg match, we will win”, said Osman. “We still have weaknesses in dealing with our opponents’ penetrative passes…you could see the (Ngorongoro’s) first two goals were from penetrative passes that we failed to deal with”, he added.
Should Ngorongoro Heroes dispatch Sudan in the first round, they will meet continental soccer giants, Nigeria, in the second round, in which the first leg match will be played in Dar es Salaam between July 27 and 29 while the return leg match will take place between August 10 and 12 this year.