Zamalek new coach Jesualdo Ferreira (Photo: Reuters)
Zamalek Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira has hailed his players for Sunday's home win against Rwanda's Rayon Sports, but rued missed scoring opportunities during the game.
The Cairo giants marked the debut of new boss Ferreira with an easy 3-1 home win over Rayon Sports in the Confederation Cup opener in the first leg of the competition's round of 32.
"We had a lot of missed goal opportunities that prevented us from a bigger win," Ferreira said at the press conference after the match.
It was the Whites' first match since last month's Cairo football stadium disaster that left 20 of their fans dead.
"Beating Rayon Sports was essential for us, especially as it comes directly after the death of the club's supporters," said the coach.
The Zamalek supporters died in a stampede after being tear-gassed by security forces, who attempted to prevent them from attending an Egyptian Premier League game against ENPPI at the army-owned Air Defence Stadium on 8 February.
The domestic competition has since been suspended, but action has resumed for African competitions, with Zamalek taking part in Africa's secondary club competition for the first time since 1999.
Sunday's match at home against Rayon Sports took place in the Red Sea resort of El-Gouna due to security concerns.
"It was very difficult to prepare the team for the match in 40 days amid the suspension of the domestic league, but the players delivered an outstanding performance, despite the bad pitch and windy weather affecting us negatively," Ferreira explained.
"In the second half, we kept defending to maintain our progress, especially as the players were suffering from fatigue.
"We will work hard in the coming period to get the players ready for the return leg on 5 April," he concluded. "Rayon Sports is a strong and organised team, which will make the mission difficult in Rwanda."
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