By Johnny Edward:
Al-Merrikh head coach, Diego Garzitto, has blamed the artificial pitch at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium for his side's 3-0 defeat to Rivers United in Sunday's CAF Champions league round of 16 first leg clash, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Garzitto, during his post-match press conference, added that the harsh weather conditions in Port Harcourt also contributed to Al-Merrikh's abysmal performance.
A brace from Guy Kuemian and another strike from Esosa Igbinosa gave the Pride of Rivers a comfortable lead ahead of the second leg.
"We were not used to the conditions in Port Harcourt,” Garzitto told the post-match press conference.
"Al-Merrikh usually plays its matches from 8pm and on Sunday we kicked off four hours earlier.
"Our pitch in Omdurman is grass but we had to play on an artificial surface in Port Harcourt.”
Al-Merrikh will host Rivers United in the second leg on March 18 at the Al-Merrikh Stadium, Omdurman to decide the tie.