Ethiopian flag bearers, Saint George stunned visiting AS Vita of DR Congo 1-0 in their Group C Day Three encounter on Sunday in Addis Ababa.
In a hotly contested fixture, the homers were very close to opening the scores through Burkinabe Prince Waongo inside two minutes, as his effort rattled the crossbar.
The Congolese responded through Rwanda-import Ernest Sugira a minute later. Sugira had vied Saint George goalie Zerihun Tadele to beta, but failed to convert what was his side’s best chance of the first half.
At the half-hour mark, Behailu Assefa set Salahdin Said free as the later chipped over Vita custodian Bongaman Lukong. Lukong failed to save Said’s effort however Muzinga Ngonda cleared the ball off the line to deny the Ethiopians the lead.
Six minutes later, Abebaw Butako’s well struck free-kick was brilliantly parried away by Lukong as the score remained barren at the interval.
The second half saw a much changed Saint George as they dominated possession on the opening minutes. Second half substitute Minyahel Teshome failed to beat Lukong from close range in the 52nd minute before Said put the ‘Horsemen’ ahead seven minutes later, firing past Lukong after being set up by Burkinabe Abdulkerim Nikima. Nikima hustled with Botuli Bopunga to set free Said, who bagged his sixth goal of the campaign.
Agiti Etekiama’s long range drive sailed wide as Vita struggled in the attacking third. All their efforts to break the strong Saint George defense went in the drain.
Saint George now sit second in the standings with five points, two points adrift of leaders Esperance. Holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa have four points with Vita at the depth of the standings pointless after three matches.
Fasil Tekalegn (Assistant Coach, Saint George)
We are very thrilled that we have got maximum points from this game, which keeps us in contention. Our boys gave everything and deserved to win the tie. We knew how they (AS Vita) are going to fare against us so we were much prepared for victory. We rectified our weakness in the first half, and we dominated in the second half and finally scored.
Florent Ibenge (Head Coach, AS Vita)
We find ourselves in a difficult situation after the defeat. We performed better today, compared tour previous games. Saint George were very tough especially in the second half. We lost to a better side and we expect a tough return leg at home too. We are now perplexed after three losses in a row.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football