AFC Leopards limp on: Hosts Ingwe rue missed chances in first leg fixture
Leopards limp on in Caf tie
Madagascar side happy with away goal advantage.
AFC Leopards would have wished for better results on their return to continental football.
After taking an early lead after three minutes of play through Prince Papa Arko, Ingwe faithful inside Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega were convinced it would rain goals against FOSA Juniors FC of Madagascar.
But in the end and much to their consternation, their first leg Caf Confederations Cup preliminary match ended 1-1.
FOSA Juniors equalised in the 15th minute through Rado Mbolasoa following poor coordination from the Leopards’ defence.
Mbolasoa thought he had won it for the visitors in the 27th minute, but his effort was ruled offside.
FOSA Juniors were clearly the better side at this moment and they launched a relentless attack on the Ingwe den. In one of those raids, Jean Yves came close but fluffed his effort, despite having only goalkeeper Gabriel Andika to contend with.
Sensing trouble, Ingwe made early substitutions in the 40th minute. Aziz Okaka replaced Baker Lukooya and Henry Ifeanyi Uche came in for the ineffective Collins Okoth.
Despite the changes, the struggle was clear. The goals were not coming through as many of the fans would have wanted. Isaac Oduro’s shot was saved by FOSA Juniors goalkeeper Tabibo Balvano just before halftime.
That the hosts were struggling was never in doubt. They even threw in Ezekiel Odera and withdrew Whyvone Isuza in the second half all in the hope of bagging maximum points, but try as they could, nothing fruitful was forthcoming.
Leopards coach Robert Matano said his players failed to utilise the few chances that came their way.
“My players were very nervous and exhibited poor coordination, which served to the advantage of our opponents. They conceded an easy goal which they should not have allowed,” said Matano.
The tactician said he would rotate his squad ahead of the return leg in two weeks.
“They had no constructive play and now I have to make some changes to my squad. We must revive hopes of proceeding to the next level,” he said.
On his part, FOSA Juniors coach Andrew Watzel said he was satisfied with the results.
“I had four weeks to prepare for this match and was ready to win. However, I am satisfied with the draw,” said Watzel.