The Reds and Blacks need a positive result in the second leg to get a chance to progress past the Jos outfit to the group stages
Plateau United presented USM Alger with a ‘very difficult’ encounter, but despite the 2-1 loss at the Agege Stadium, coach Miloud Hamdi feels the situation was well-managed.
In Saturday’s Caf Confederation Cup playoff encounter, Yaya Faouzi’s equaliser after the break had given the Algiers outfit – who went down to a dominant Plateau side in the first half through King Osanga – hopes of salvaging a positive result, but substitute Emma James popped up with the winner for the Peace Boys.
And while admitting the superior quality of Kenedy Boboye’s men on the day, the 46-year-old insists that the extremely ‘hot’ Lagos condition was a factor that played against his side.
“I think this match was very difficult,” Hamdi said after the game
“It was too hot when we lost 1-0 and I lost one player and I changed with an attacker and my system to a 4-4-2.
“We had to come back and we did [after the break]. We had situations to make it two and three but we did not do that and Plateau United got several situations and with one of it they scored the second goal.”
Hamdi hailed the defensive partnership of Junior Salomon and Elisha Golbe but is upbeat about his side beating them more than once when they play the return leg at the Stade Omar Hamadi.
“I think Plateau United have good players and with the strikers, they move a lot but they have to go to Algeria to play my team again. I think the 5 and 6 [Salomon and Golbe] are strong.
“[But] I think we can score more goals [in Algeria].
Asked if his side’s slow start to the encounter affected their result, the Algerian-French gaffer took an exception, stating it was how they had intended managing the game so as to avoid burning out quickly under a humid weather.
“No, we play the game like we want to play the game – you know it so hot,” he continued.
Article continues below
“If we move a lot in the first half, after the break we’d be left with no strength. No power to go and come, to go and come. And maybe we’d concede one, two, three, four goals. It is very dangerous to give all in a first half as hot as that.
“I think it is not a good result because we should have scored more goals because that is very important when you play in continental competitions,” he concluded.