MFM Holds Real Bamako as Plateau Utd Wins in Jos

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CAF COMPETITIONS
*Akwa United walks tight rope with 1-2 home defeat in Uyo
 
By Femi Solaja with agency reports
It was contrasting fortunes for all the three Nigerian club sides competing in CAF club competitions yesterday. One home win in Jos, an encouraging away draw in Bamako, Mali and a scandalous home loss summarised the performance of Nigerian clubs on all fronts.
Although all the three representatives are debutants in the competitions, it was current league champions, Plateau United that came out with a comfortable 3-0 win against visiting Eding Sports FC of Cameroon in Jos.
Similarly, in Bamako, debutants, Mountain of Fire and Miracle FC secured an encouraging 1-1 result against Malian side, AS Real Bamako who forced them to a draw in the first leg of the CAF Champions League qualifiers.
MFM shocked the home fans when the Olukoya Boys took the lead in the 15th minute courtesy of Akinyemi Nojeem but their lead only lasted two minutes as Miakib Giscard drew the home side level with a powerful header.
Both teams went into the half time break level at 1-1, and despite massive pressure from the home side, the Nigerians hanged on to claim a score draw which could prove valuable in the return leg.
The return leg will take place in Lagos in two weeks time, with the Nigerians needing a 0-0 draw or an outright win to progress to the next round of the tournament.
In his post match interview, coach Fidelis Ilechukwu said his ward swill work very hard in the return leg to kill off the tie, and praised their efforts in keeping the Malians at bay.
In Jos, Plateau United dominated the early exchanges but a lack of cutting edge upfront including good goalkeeping from the goal tender of the visitors kept the Nigerians at bay.
Plateau United got rewarded for their early pressure when they were awarded a penalty after Eyenga Alain handled the ball in the vital area in his bid to deny the home side a shot at goal.
Tosin Omoyele’s spot kick was stopped by goalkeeper Ndjome Lionel, but Elijah Oghene was within the area to slot in the rebound and put Nigeria in the front seat.
In-form Sunday Ingbede doubled the lead mid way in the second half before Joshua Obaje wrapped up the victory dip into the injury time.
While the two clubs gave good account of themselves in the CAF elite competition, Akwa United got their CAF Confederation Cup campaign underway on the wrong foot after losing 1-2 at home to visiting Hawks FC of Gambia at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.
The game started on a promising note for the Nigerians but it was the visitors who took the lead 15 minutes into the encounter after a blunder by Akwa United goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo.
Ojo punched a harmless free kick unto the path of Mohammed Jallow who tapped home from what was the first shot on target by the visitors, and it got better for them four minutes after the half hour mark.
The visitors made their host pay for a miss by Ubong Friday shortly after they have taken the lead, with Lamin Charity profiting from yet again another poor decision by Ojo to put the Gambians two goals up.
Charity took advantage of the poor position of the former Nigeria U20 goalkeeper with a fantastic lob to put his team two goals up. A lead which they protected up to the half time break.
Fifteen minutes to full time, Victor Mboama scored from close range to hand the Aiteo Federation Cup winners a life line, but tried as they could Hawks FC hanged on to claim a memorable 2-1 win ahead of the return leg in two weeks time in Gambia.