With just a goal lead under the belt, any team travelling to North Africa for a second leg match know they are far from being safe.
Ghanaian representatives Aduana Stars planned for and wanted more goals to secure their trip to Algeria next week, but they could only grab one at home against a very organised and experienced ES Setif in the Caf Champions League final qualifying round.
Contrary to what Setif’s officials said ahead of the game, they did not display an attacking football but were disruptive and defensive, which worked against the Ogya Lads, who struggled to roll out a game plan.
Aduana sought for spaces and holes in the Algerians’ back half but found little, which kept closing up even before they could be exploited.
The visitors had planned for counters, which almost worked out on two occasions when the home side overlapped without enough cover up.
Aduana were only lucky to not have conceded, but their fighting spirit and stamina across both halves should be commended, although the local supporters lost their voice too soon, when no goal was forthcoming.
The win through a penalty by the 52nd minute showed how the home side fought and fought to make sure Setif didn’t leave Dormaa Ahenkro with a point.
That spirit and strategy are likely to change in the return leg. However, adopting a complete defensive posture may not be coach Yussif Abubakar’s best bet, as he has assured in a post- match interview that he would attack in Algeria.
That could be risky as well. Setif have faced and effaced in the past, several teams who have attempted to play a balanced game with them at the 8 Mai 1945 stadium.
Parking the bus could be Aduana’s only solution considering the pace of Setif’s wingers and their ability to deliver long passes. But would the Ghanaians be able to defend for 90 minutes at a jam-packed 25,000 seater facility?
Abubakar says he would attack and at the same time protect their one-goal lead. He needs to put something out that we are yet to seen on the local scene. Perhaps, a massive attack and massive defence option, which requires energy and discipline. How set are his charges for that?
Aduana have reached the stage of the competition where they need to throw their all into the fray and expect to get something back. Losing against the Algerians in Setif wouldn’t be shameful, so why must they play it too safe?
If they are brave and bully enough, they could stun Setif, make history and bring honour to Ghanaians.
But they need that key and secret plan to ruin the hopes of the North Africans, which Abubakar must seek for before March 18.