Papic said his team created plenty of chances but failed to exploit them, a weakness that has also been coming into view during the team’s assignments in the Mainland Premier League. “We created so many chances but we could not use them. Generally, however, our performance was good…it shows we are now improving”, he said.
The draw left Yanga in extremely difficult position as far as progressing to the first round of the continental event is concerned because it is nothing but a resounding win over their opponents that will assure the Tanzanians of a place in the next round. Yanga, against all odds, played an enterprising game and managed to contain the Egyptians at some point only to waste clear cut chances much to the disappointment of the mammoth crowd that turned up to watch the match.
The Serbian coach also defended his decision to play an attacking trio of Ghanaian Kenneth Asamoah, Ugandan Hamisi Kiiza, and Zambian Davies Mwape, in the game although the strikers were guilty of wasting many chances, with Asamoah and Mwape, in particular, wasting almost five close chances between them. “The three strikers have a good understanding between them and that is why I play them together”, said Papic.
Despite being in control of the match particularly in the first half, Yanga failed to fully exploit their chances to leave the team’s fans shouting abuses to the players now and then. Asamoah and Mwape had to endure the wrath of the demanding fans as the strikers wasted the chances despite being clear inside Zamalek box, with only keeper, Abd El Sayed, to beat.
Yanga eventually went to the breather with the lone strike by Kiiza in the 46th minute and, when Zamalek’s hit man, Amr Zaki, equalized on the 76th minute, it was the Egyptians that held sway thereafter to send shivers down the hosts’ fans’ spines.
Zamalek’s assistant coach, Esmael Yosef, admitted his side had tough opposition in the match but its determination in the second half eventually helped it salvage the draw.
He added that Zamalek know they need to fight hard in the return leg and will have to live up to their expectations. Zamalek will be forced to play the return leg match behind closed doors following the order issued out by the Egypt Football Association (EFA) in the wake of the recent clashes between fans of the other soccer giants, Al Ahly and Al Masry, when the two teams met in the country’s top flight encounter in Port Said, leaving about 74 fans dead.
“Zamalek will be playing behind closed doors in the return leg match…I don’t like it because we need fans in the stadium”, said Yosef. Playing behind closed doors could somewhat be a slight disadvantage to Zamalek and Yanga will have to capitalize on the opportunity in their bid to silence their opponents at their backyard.