Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU who was at the ‘Soccer Temple’, Agege Stadium Lagos, for the CAF Confederation Cup Play-off Round, first leg clash between Nigerian champions Plateau United and Algeria’s USM Alger presents five major talking points from the game…
1. Scanty Home Ground
With the New Jos Stadium deemed unsuitable to host continental games at the moment by the Confederation of African Football, the Jos club adopted the ‘Soccer Temple’ as makeshift home ground for the clash against USM Alger and the atmosphere was less suitable for them with low fan’s support experienced.
Only few fans came out to watch the game and the arena was quite boring, but for members of the Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters Club who came in later to cheer the team.
Compare to an home game involving the original ‘landlord’ of the stadium, MFM, it was no doubt a boring atmosphere.
2. USM Struggled As Expected Under Lagos Heat
Coming from a different climatic conditions, it was all going to be a massive test for USM players playing in a hot weather and that proved to be the case after all.
The players gulped water into their system at every opportunity. Even the reserve players and their officials were not left out and had to cover their heads with towels.
No wonder their performance improved massively after the break when the weather became more friendlier.
3. Plateau United Defence Massively Exposed
Plateau United defence led by the usually reliable captain of the team, Elisha Golbe, put up a below par performance in the game. Golbe and centre-back partner, Beninoise international, Salomon Junior, struggled to cope with the trickery and intelligence of USM forwards who also exposed their lack of pace.
Only right-back, Chizoba Amaefule, put up an above average performance in the game.
4. The Two Opposing Goalkeepers Showed Class
Plateau United goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye and his USM Alger counterpart, Zemmamouche, gave a good account of themselves in the game.
The lanky but agile Zemmamouche make over five top notch saves in the game and he was one reason why Plateau United didn’t win by a large margin.
Also, Ajiboye rose up to the occasion for the hosts despite his defenders failing to provide adequate cover for him.
5. Wasteful Plateau United
Despite not really at their best in the game and their reliable playmaker, Rapheal Ayagwa, failing to live up to expectations, the hosts still managed to create a number of good goal-scoring opportunities in the game, but unfortunately, could only convert two of those chances.
They could rue their failure to secure a convincing win after the second leg in Algiers on April 18.