Enyimba coach Finidi George says he is satisfied with the way his team performed in their 1-0 away win against Senegalese side Diambars in the CAF Confederation Cup on Saturday.
Substitute Cyril Olisema converted an 87th-minute penalty after winger Orok Gabriel was brought down in the box, to hand the former Super Eagles star a winning start as Enyimba coach.
Reacting to the win, the ex-Ajax and Real Betis winger said he was pleased the 2-time African champions were able to stick to the game plan despite the onslaught from Diambars, especially in the first half.
“Personally, I’m happy that we played this way,” the 50-year-old tactician said. “We knew this team is a very good team technically. They pass the ball very, very well. But at the same time, we kept our composure, we kept our formation, and then try to hold them so that they cannot score an easy goal.
“So, at the end of the day, in the second half, we still played that way; try to contain them. And I think the tempo of their game dropped, and that helped us as well to pass the ball a little bit more in the middle and gave us that opportunity with the few changes we made.
“We knew we cannot match them because they’ve started their league already. They played a couple of games; real competition games and they have that match rhythm. So, we knew if we could play to our formation, don’t give them that space, which I think they had in the first 20, 25 minutes, they dominated, I must agree to that. And after that, the tempo dropped a little bit and that permitted us to play our football a little bit.
“We saw that in the second half, most players were tired after 60 minutes, and we made some changes and brought some fresh legs, which really helped and gave us that penalty.”
The People’s Elephant will host Diambars in the second leg in Aba on Sunday, 24 October, with aggregate winners advancing to the play-offs stage of the competition.
The record Nigerian league winners Enyimba have reached the quarter-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup in the last two editions.