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Football | CAF Confederations Cup

Djoliba © Backpagepix

Djoliba held in Confed Cup final first leg



Malian side Djoliba were held to a 2-2 draw by Congolese outfit AC Leopards in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final on Sunday night in Bamako.

The first opportunity of the game was to the credit of the locals, with a good run by Samba Diallo down the left wing on the 11th minute, but the Djoliba forward ended up with a very poor cross, straight between the gloves of the Congolese keeper.

Two minutes later, completely free at the far post, Boubacar Bangoura missed a golden occasion for a Malian outfit struggling to handle the pressure of a continental final.

AC Leopards’ first warning came just after the quarter of an hour mark with Congolese skipper Rudy Guélor Bhebey sending a powerful strike just over the crossbar, and in the 21st minute Rochel Fernand Kivouri ended perfectly a deadly counter attack with a well weighted lob which left no chance for Djoliba’s keeper Aly Yirango.

That was the perfect start for the “Fauves du Niari” away from home at the Stade du 26 Mars, but the locals managed to come back into the game ten minutes later, thanks to Alou Bagayoko from the penalty spot.

Cesaire Gandze could have put the AC Leopards back in the lead in the dying seconds of the first half, but he saw his run the box well blocked by the Malian defence.

Alou Badra Diallo’s men started the second half on the front foot with a good strike by Alou Bagayoko, but the Congolese’s keeper showed firm hands.

And five minutes later, well set-up by Samba Diallo, Mamane Cisse failed to keep control of the ball.

The visitors decided to fight back straight away on another counter-attack, but Gandze lost his one-on-one with Aly Yirango.

Just before the hour mark, Djoliba’s skipper Issa Traore flicked a perfect ball over the visitor’s defence for striker Bangoura, but the Leopards keeper was the quickest.

The locals kept the pressure on and were awarded on the 73rd minute, defender Salif Coulibaly putting the Djoliba on the lead for the first time in this game.

And as the Malian fans started to celebrate in the stands of the Stade du 26 Mars of Bamako with five minutes left on the clock, AC Leopards substitute Heritier Ngouelou silenced the crowd with an equaliser.

Despite the four minutes of added time, the Djoliba had to settle with a 2-2 draw before travelling to Dolisie next weekend for the return leg of this CAF Confederation Cup 2012.

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