The Portuguese tactician remains confident K’Ogalo have a huge chance to make it right and advance to the group stage
Gor Mahia coach Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto has put up a brave face by insisting they can still beat Napsa Stars away and reach the group stage of the Caf Confederation Cup.
The Kenyan champions failed to utilise home ground advantage as they suffered a 1-0 defeat against the pensioners at Nyayo Stadium to complicate their chances of reaching the lucrative stage of the competition.
It was Daniel Aboko who powered home the lone goal with four minutes left to the final whistle after his thunderbolt effort from outside the box sizzled past Gor Mahia’s defenders to beat keeper Boniface Oluoch all the way to the net.
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Despite losing the game, the Portuguese tactician, who was handling Gor Mahia for the first time in a continental assignment, has now said the record Kenyan champions are still capable of turning around the first-leg deficit and return home with a qualification berth.
“Anything can still happen in Zambia,” Vaz Pinto said as quoted by Standard Sport. “We have one game to go; they beat us at home but we can also beat them in Zambia.
“If they won here, we also have chances of winning there. I think everything is possible, we know they will sit back because they are leading but if we score there we will go to the group stages.”
On whether Gor Mahia deserved to lose the first leg battle, Vaz Pinto explained: “We played better than our opponents and created more chances to score but gave away an opportunity to Napsa.
“I don’t remember Napsa creating a single chance in that game. We just conceded the goal after our defender gave away the ball to a Napsa player. But sometimes such things happen in football. Of course, we won more balls in the game, but I think we can still do better.”
In a separate interview with Goal, Napsa Stars coach Mohamed Fathi said he had cautioned his players to stop celebrating after the 1-0 victory.
“The game is not over yet,” Fathi told Goal after the match played at Nyayo Stadium. “We are celebrating here now and I have told my players that immediately we land in Lusaka; we must shift focus to the return leg.
“Gor Mahia is a very difficult team, they proved they are tough to beat until we were forced to change our tact, so we cannot be able to underrate them now we won, we have to stay focused and work on mistakes we committed ahead of the return leg.”
Napsa will likely be boosted with the return of former Southampton striker Emannuel Mayuka, who missed the first leg due to injury.