Ethiopian U-20 falls to Burundi counterpart


A two nil defeat in front of home crowds over the week end, Ethiopian U-20 head coach Atnafu Alemu’s campaign to book a place in the African U-20 AFCON qualifier for Niger 2019 is in jeopardy. “My players had done everything they were told and up to their capacity, but the visitors were too much to harness. I will take full accountability for the poor result,” Atnafu told reporters after the first leg home defeat.
A third minute hand gift after a goal keeper blunder, the visitors with an extra boldness went  forward abandoning their initial game plan of going back home sharing a point. Taking the risk of going forward gave Brundi the all-important second goal in the 22nd minute once again goalie Tsion’s failing to clear a corner kick.
Though the home players dominated in ball possession through short passes, they barely managed to go past the athletic and disciplined defensive lines. A two goal scoring effort at the final minutes of the game were the only chances created by the home side with most of the squad members hardly challenging  the visitors in body contacts and air balls. Add to that the blunder from inexperienced goalie Tsion Mered, the defeat was nothing to complain about except hard work and attention to youth football. According to some suggestions Atnafu’s game plan was to cautiously dominate the game through ball possession. But conceding that early goal disrupted every communication with his players. That shocking goal triggered a disarrayed play including long balls from central defense with no avail.
The return leg takes place in Brundi-Ngozi after three weeks and a slippery high hill to Ethiopian U-20 to turn around the result.