Supersport’s Johnson cries foul

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iol spt mar24 Cavin Johnson Gallo Images SuperSport United coach Cavin Johnson says pre-season preparations are well on track. Photo: Lefty Shivambu

A fuming Cavin Johnson yesterday said SuperSport United were “robbed” in their 1-0 defeat to Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel in the CAF Confederation Cup second round first leg at Stade Olympique de Sousse on Saturday.

The SuperSport coach also bemoaned his side’s missed chances, as the Tshwane outfit lost their first away match in the continental club competition this season.

In the previous rounds away from home, Matsatsantsa drew 2-2 with AFC Leopards of Kenya and beat Botswana’s Gaborone United 1-0. Had it not been for poor officiating, according to Johnson, Matsatsantsa would have at least come away with a draw as he claimed the visitors were denied a legitimate goal in the second half.

“It was a good game and I think we played good football. We were disallowed a legitimate goal by Mame (Niang) towards the end.

“The referee robbed us clearly and I am very upset. The officiating was poor. We could have gone home with at least 1-1. But in saying that we have to get back and do our best on Saturday,” he said yesterday, as Matsatsantsa were preparing to board a plane back home to prepare for this weekend’s second leg clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

“This is all bad for the development of African football. That is why our players cannot excel. Some players are discouraged when the referee makes such decisions. It’s blatant and this is the history of playing in North Africa.

“But when they come to South Africa we give them the best treatment and the best referees.”

The officials were not the only ones who bore the brunt of Johnson’s wrath. The former Platinum Stars coach feels his players should have put their opponents to the sword had they taken the opportunities presented to them in the game.

His front men, Mame Niang and January signing Lebogang Manyama, were the main culprits.

“There were quite a few chances we could have converted. Mame had two. Sameehg (Doutie) had one. Lebogang also had two, but their goalkeeper made some very good saves.

“But I don’t this is a bad result for us. We will come back and put up a big fight in the second leg,” he said.

Johnson’s SuperSport have been very inconsistent locally, and their league title hopes have all but faded.

Their redemption would come in the form of Confederation Cup glory.

“It will give me the greatest of pleasure if we get to the group stages. It would make the club proud. We can do well in this competition. We want to emulate Orlando Pirates and maybe even win it. South Africans need to take this tournament seriously and that’s what we are doing right now.”

Former Confederation Cup champions Etoile, given a bye in the preliminary round, were beaten 1-0 by Congo’s CARA Brazzaville in the first round away from home, which should give SuperSport reason to believe they can come back and secure a spot in the group stages.

Matsatsantsa A Pitori have won their two home matches thus far, scoring four goals and keeping a clean sheet in both. They will need that sort of form this weekend to overcome Roger Lemerre’s men. – The Star

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