CAF CHAMPS: HEARTLAND SECURES HOME WIN, RANGERS DRAW GOALESS IN BURUNDI
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Heartland beat Gabonese club, US Bitam 2-1 in a first leg, first round Caf Confederation Cup clash at the Dan Anyiam Stadium,Owerri on Sunday.
The Nigerian Cup kings dominated the early exchanges and duly took the lead on 22 minutes through Jolly Osas.
There were no further goals in the half as Heartland continued to probe for more goals to make the second leg more comfortable.
Isah Akor provided a second goal for the Nigerians seven minutes after the interval with a smart finish but the joy of the home supporters was to be short-lived.
The phrase, 'you are most vulnerable immediately after you just scored' was ruthlessly highlighted as Bitam hit back immediately after Akor's strike through Alain Djessikadie.
The visitors celebrated a potentially crucial away goal as the Naze Millionaires went on to lay siege on the Bitam goal for the rest of the game.
Stoic defending by Bitam and profligacy from the Heartland forwards however meant the score remained 2-1 to the hosts to set the tone for a potentially explosive return leg in a fortnight.
'We made several mistakes but that is football. We should have scored more goals and giving away that goal the way we did immediately after we just scored the second goal was very painful. Now we must go to Gabon with the belief that we can score over there too,' Ndubuisi Nduka, head coach of Heartland told supersport.com after the game.
Heartland lost out in last year's Caf Confederation Cup by away goals to Congolese club, AC Leopards.
While away to Burundi, Rangers International of Enugu played out a barren goaless and ensured they shared points with Vitalo O of Burundi thereby making it easier for them to go into the return leg at home in a forthnight with the hope of qualifying for the next round.