26 April 2018 08:04
Record Ethiopian champions Saint George recorded a late win over bitter rivals Ethiopian Coffee in the ‘Sheger’ derby which is the biggest showdown of Ethiopian football. The Horsemen manage to defeat Ethiopian Coffee on Monday after a five-game wait in the Ethiopian Premier League.
Defensive midfielder Mulualem Mesfin headed home two minutes from time to hand Saint George the last laugh at the end in a Week 21 clash of the Ethiopian topflight league encounter played at a packed Addis Ababa Stadium.
It was Ethiopian Coffee who came close to take the lead through Samson Tilahun but his free-kick effort sailed wide moments after the onset. Senegalese forward Baptiste Faye headed wide for Coffee’s next attempt. The away side continued to push forward in the opening minutes as Nigerian striker Samuel Sanumi spurred a good counter attack opportunity in the 12th minute.
The Ethiopian Coffee players succeeded in halting Saint George’s build up game for much of the first interval. Both sides were very poor in creating scoring chances during the half. Abubakher Sanni shot into the safe hands of Coffee’s Beninese custodian Hariston Hessou from long range at the brink of half time.
In the second half, the Ethiopian Coffee continued their search for the opener forward Faye through long range passes while Saint George saw a little bit possession. Saint George lone striker Ame Mohammed unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the box in the 47th minute but only to see his effort sailing over the crossbar.
Against the run of play, Coffee midfielder Mesud Mohammed’s goal bound effort was parried by an alert Saint George goalkeeper, Robert Odongkara in the 50th minute. The encounter saw a few scoring opportunities in the remaining minutes as second half substitute Adane Girma failed to hit the target twice.
Mesfin struck the crucial goal in the 88th minute. Abebaw Butako’s perfect delivery coupled with defensive disorganization at the Coffee back presented the Ethiopian international a perfect opportunity to head home from close range as Saint George picked valuable maximum points off their cross city rivals.
Saint George, with two games outstanding, climb to third with 33 points, five points adrift of leaders Jimma Aba Jifar. Ethiopian Coffee are fifth with 32 points from 21 games.
Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto (Head Coach, Saint George)
I knew Baptiste Faye from my Angola days. It was clear that when you have a tall striker the other players will always try to put long balls to him. That is what Ethiopia Coffee often does in the game. In the first half, we gave them some space. In the second half we did not give them any space and we controlled the game. It is good that we have won after a difficult duel in Brazzaville days ago.
Didier Gomes (Head Coach, Ethiopian Coffee)
We are very disappointed. I think we dominated the game. Saint George is a team with much technical ability. Today, we focused to play direct football than the usual possession based football. We lost concentration when we conceded a goal in the dying moments of the game. We have missed some decent chances particularly in the first half.