Fatigue let us down

DjolibaCoach of Accra Hearts of Oak has blamed the team’s abysmal performance and defeat to AS Djoliba of Mali on fatigue.

He said the team played three crucial games and had to travel back and forth prior to their clash against the Malian giants on Sunday.

Speaking after the team’s home defeat to Djoliba, he explained that “we lost because fatigue has set in the team played three games in 10 days against Olympics, Ashgold and Djoliba making most of the boys tired.”

Hearts, after winning 2-1 in the first leg of the CAF Confederations Cup tie away in Mali a fortnight ago were stunned at home by a lone goal.

Though Hearts qualified despite the defeat, the visitors on the day managed to outplay and outrun the Phobians.

But for wayward finishing from the Djoliba attack, Hearts would have been dealt with a big blow as they allowed the visitors to dictate the pace of the game.

Coach Addo also said inexperience was also a contributing factor to the team’s inability to hold the Malians.

“Most of our players including Robin Gnagne and Owusu Bempah were not in the game and we had to give the chance to some young players,” he stated.

According to him, they went into the game with a plan but could not fully execute it in the second half and gave away a goal.

“We decided to avoid attacks and crosses from the flanks which would give the visitors an advantage as they have very tall players that would be good in the air,” he explained.

He added that, the team managed to hold the Malians in the first half by ensuring they were not allowed to get crosses into the area but were later caught off guard in the second half.

In all he said, the team played well and congratulated them for ensuring qualification to the next stage of the competition.

Striker of the team, Selasie Adjei backed the coaches’ claim by saying the various travel before the game did not help the team.

“We were very tired and that affected our performance on the day but the Malians also played some good football,” he stressed.

He admitted that they did not really do what the coach have instructed them to do on the day as they lacked concentration at some point in time and gave away balls easily.

“We did not take advice from the coach as we failed to stop them from the flanks and could not prevent aerial balls,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Hearts will know their opponent in the final face after CAF’s draw tomorrow.

Hearts having ousted AC Djoliba of Mali on the away goal rule to advance to the next round of the competition are bound to face one of the eliminated Clubs from the Champions League.

AS Kaloum SM, Sanga Balende, Espérance de Tunis, CS Sfaxien, AC Léopards , Al-Ahly, Raja Casablanca, and Stade Malien all faced elimination from the CAF Champions League.

By Michael D. Abayateye

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