Javier Martinez Espinoza had his first test of African football when his Vipers side lost 2-1 to El Merriekh in Khartoum in the first leg preliminary round of the 2018/2019 Total CAF Champions League.
The Daniel Mzee Sserunkuma late goal gave Vipers breathing space in a tie that was largely dominated by their Sudanese hosts despite the scoreline.
When both teams meet for the return leg on Wednesday December 5th, Espinoza is confident his charges will be able to build on that away goal and turn things around against a team that is as hungry as the Ugandan champions.
“The goal we got here in Khartoum is very important to us because we only need to win at St. Mary’s stadium and make sure we do not concede for us to advance,” Mexican told the club website before adding. “I believe we have the potential to win at home and advance to the next stage.”
Despite largely being on the receiving end, Espinoza believes his boys gave a good a count of themselves, something they will build on in the return leg.
“I must say the boys put up a spirited performance. We were hard done by those two late goals and not utilising the chances we got in the game,” he said.
If Vipers advance, they play the winner between CS Constatine of Algeria or GAMTEL from Gambia at the first round which is the final qualifying phase to the group stage.
Main photo caption: Vipers lineup for a team photo before their first leg clash against El Merriekh in Khartoum last week | Vipers Photo