Heartland earn lead over Bitam in Confederations Cup
Gabonese club US Bitam were brought back down to earth with a bump in the Confederation Cup as they fell 2-1 to Nigerian side Heartland.
Bitam scored a record-breaking 17 goals over the two legs of their previous tie but found the going much tougher in the last 32 clash.
But the tie remains finely balanced as Alain Djessikadie hit an away goal that could prove crucial. That strike came after Heartland's goals, scored by Jolly Osas and Isa Akor.
Away goals count double should the sides tie on aggregate and a 1-0 win for Bitam in northern Gabon during the first weekend of April would ensure overall success in tie.
Lobi Stars of Nigeria were 3-1 winners over Liga Muculmana of Mozambique in Makurdi through second-half goals from Osas Aigbe, John Lawrence and Eze Stephen after Francisco Npocha put the visitors ahead within a minute of the kick off.
No Nigerian club has won the Confederation Cup- introduced in 2004 to replace the African Cup Winners Cup and Caf Cup competitions - with Dolphin coming closest by finishing runners-up eight years ago.
CS Sfaxien of Tunisia, the only team to successfully defend the Confederation Cup, won 4-2 at home against Gamtel of Gambia with Yassine Khenissi scoring twice for the club from Mediterranean city Sfax.
Khenissi claimed the lone first-half goal and after Modou Sarr equalised, Taoufik Salhi, Khenissi and Ghazi Challouf were on target for the local club before a Sarr penalty completed the scoring in a thrilling second half.
Former African champions ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast, who have underachieved in recent Caf competitions, began with a 2-1 win over Rail Kadiogo in Burkina Faso with Evrard Zagbayou and Michel Mvondo scoring for the Abidjan outfit.
Recreativo Caala of Angola all but secured a last-16 slot after hammering Malian second-tier side US Bougouni 4-0 in Huambo with Pilola bagging a brace and Vovo and Shay one goal each.
It was a harsh reality check for the 2012 Malian FA Cup winners, the first lower league side to win the competition, after home and away victories over US Haut Nkam of Cameroon in the preliminary round.
SuperSport United of South Africa had the better of a 0-0 draw with 10-man Petro Atletico of Angola in Luanda as Ghanaian Edwin Gyimah failed to score from a close-range header and a Sibusiso Zuma shot rattled the crossbar.
Diables Noirs of Congo trounced Panter of Equatorial Guinea 6-1 for the biggest triumph of the weekend and other victors included former Caf title winners Ismaily of Egypt and DC Motema Pembe of Democratic Republic of Congo.