NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9- SuperSport United skipper Dean Furman has blamed a combination of a ‘shocking’ penalty decision and what he termed as a poor pitch for their 1-0 loss to Gor Mahia in a CAF Confederations Cup third round, first leg tie in Machakos on Sunday.
Madagascan referee Hamada Nampiandraza pointed straight to the spot in the 77th minute after Meddie Kagere’s header off a Bernard Omondi corner bounced on Grant kekana’s arm, a decision that Furman has termed as ‘completely soft’.
“We thought we did enough to get a 0-0 but at the end of it, it is a shocking decision… so soft… but it is what it is. The penalty was poor and it is what won them the game,” the South African international told Capital Sport.
“We turned the tie around last time and we are confident at home and on a proper pitch where we will be able to play our own style of football. The pitch here was not very good we had to adapt our game to play more direct,” the midfielder further added.
He has however acknowledged that Gor Mahia will be a tough nut to crack in the return tie in Pretoria on April 18, but looking back at their home form when they reached the final of the same tournament last season, Furman is more than confident they stand a genuine chance.
“They have a decent team and we have seen what they are all about today. They will be difficult to break down. We are disappointed to lose especially with that penalty, but if they open us up and score a good goal in Pretoria then we will lift our hands up and say well done,” Furman further added.
Interim coach Kaitano Tembo also acknowledged that Gor is a tough team but just as his captain, he is confident their home advantage will hoist them to a good result and a second consecutive spot in the group stages.
“They are a good team; if a team can go and lose 1-0 away in Tunisia against Esperance, it shows they are a formidable team and we can’t take them for granted. They have worked hard for the result and they deserve it,” Tembo said after the game.
“We were looking to get try that away goal; at 0-0 it was okay and we could manage the game. I thought probably we should have caught them on transition when they were attacking especially if we were playing in a better pitch where the final pass could have been better,” he added.
The tactician has warned they will be going in to ensure they get a win at home, says he expects Gor to travel to Pretoria and try preserve the result which will see them sail through.
He has challenged his players to ensure they have quality in their possession and improve on their finishing as they eye a second consecutive group phase berth.
The team is faced with a huge dilemma on which competition to give more preference with their fortunes in the PSL dwindling as they continue dipping closer to relegation. Skipper Furman has bluntly said they will be working to preserve their PSL status.
“In January alone we played 10 games in 28 days which was very tasking for the players. But we are now fresher, playing well as a team hunger back again. We have to take game by game and hope for good results,” coach Tembo said.
Furman added; “No pressure at all, this was great while it lasted last year. Now we got three very important games, our focus is majorly on getting off the relegation zone in the PSL.”
SuperSport immediately travelled back to their base in Pretoria and are confronted with a tough tie against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday, then face Cape Town City before taking on Gor in the return tie.