How Mine close to group stages

HOW MINE might be close to realising their dream of reaching the mini-league phase of the Caf Confederation Cup after Saturday’s win over the Seychelles’ St Michel United, but head coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube believes there’s still room for improvement ahead of the second leg.

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The gold miners hammered the Seychelles’ St Michel United 5-1 in the first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup first round tie at Barbourfields Stadium. However, despite his team winning by a huge margin, Ncube was not satisfied with his player’s performance, particularly, their finishing in front of goal.

Ncube admitted his charges had wasted several chances in the first half and said there was no room for complacency in the Seychelles next weekend.

“We missed several chances in the first half and had to rectify that in the dressing room and made our changes and got back into the game. We are not safe yet and we are not going to rest on our laurels as we head to the Seychelles,” he said.

How Mine, who played before a disappointing crowd at Barbourfields Stadium, put on an unconvincing display in the first half and they will have to up their attack when they meet St Michel in the second leg next weekend as the islanders could turn the tables and reverse the four-goal deficit. St Michel have one away goal advantage and if they win 4-0 in the Seychelles, they would be through to the second round on the away goals rule.

How Mine scored just a single goal in the first 45 minutes, allowing St Michel to equalise and it was after the breather that How Mine, who had started playing the visitors’ game, realised their mistake and were back on the offensive to bang in four goals.

How Mine’s ascendancy in the match only came after Ncube had introduced Morris Kadzola, Timothy January and Wonder Sithole for Terrence Majo, James Chitereki and Emmanuel Mandiranga.

But it was the combination of leading Confederation Cup scorer Kudakwashe Musharu and Thembani “Smaller” Masuku which worked wonders for How Mine with the help of Edmore Muzanenhamo.

Musharu scored two goals with the other three coming from Masuku, Kadzola and a Menard Mupera penalty.

How Mine’s biggest hurdle, should they sail past St Michel will be expected to come in the second round either against Bayelsa United of Nigeria or FC Konzo of Congo.

Bayelsa held Konzo to a goalless draw in Congo on Friday and will be looking forward to home advantage to beat the Congolese next weekend in the second leg.

Meanwhile, St Michel coach Ralph Jean-Louis said the 5-1 defeat was difficult to overturn but said anything was possible in football.

The Islanders got their only goal of the day through a penalty which was converted by Jocelyn Fanosoa.

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