Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer says Sagrada Esperanca made things difficult for his side with their man-marking system on Tuesday afternoon.
Pirates secured a narrow 1-0 win over the Angolan side in the Caf Confederation Cup first-round first-leg encounter at Estadio Municipal dos Coqueiros.
The only goal of the match was scored by Thembinkosi Lorch with 16 minutes left on the clock.
Zinnbauer was pleased to see Bucs record an away victory in tough conditions in the capital city of Angola, Luanda.
"It was a tough game for us, the weather was very hot and the field was not so good - there was long grass and bouncy [field], a little bit for the ball," Zinnbauer told Pirates' media team.
"But from minute to minute, we became better in the game against a very strong defensive team with man-marking systems, so it was not so easy for our players.
"We have special players on the field that want more space and they went one-against-one, but when you always have an opponent on your back then it's not so easy."
It was Lorch's second goal in three matches having also netted in the 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 final almost two weeks ago.
Zinnbauer was also happy with the fact that the Buccaneers kept a clean sheet in Angola.
"But they did a good job today, it [turned out] very well, especially the result. This was a team effort today, and congratulations to Lorch, who scored a top goal," he added.
"The away-goal was important for us and we didn't concede, which is also important for us."
The two teams will meet again in the second-leg game in South Africa on January 6 and the match is likely to be played at Pirates' home ground, Orlando Stadium.
The winner on aggregate between Pirates and Esperanca will progress to the play-off round where the 16 winners on aggregate will advance to the group stage of Africa's secondary club tournament.
Before hosting Esperanca, Pirates will lock horns with their Gauteng rivals, Mamelodi Sundowns in a mouthwatering PSL game at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on January 2.