By Angu Lesley
PWD of Bamenda failed to make the most of their numerous opportunities and home advantage in the first-leg 2022/23 CAF Confederation Cup preliminary fixture against visitors ASSM Elgeco Plus from Madagascar this Saturday.
Thousands of PWD fans who turned out at the Kouekong Stadium to watch their clubs first official game of the season saw their side give away a one goal advantage six minutes from the end of the game as Elgeco pounced on a poorly made offside track to create an exciting second-leg scenario.
PWD came into the fixture with high expectations from the fans. Coach Martin Nkabyo in his first outing since replacing David Pagou over a month ago handed debut to new signings Etta Bawak, Api Eric and Mbom Yannick in defense while forwards Leonel Ateba and Abanke Eric also made their first start in an XI that had six players from the Cup of Cameroon winning season.
PWD dominated the early exchanges of the game – created a number of half chances but couldn’t find the back of the net.
The Abakwa Boys had their reward 18 minutes into the contest when Vincent Paul Ngondi pounced on a chest pass from Abanke Eric to give them a deserved lead.
The goal was the club’s first CAF interclub goal in 17 years and sparked hopes of a joyful afternoon, but it wasn’t to be.
Goalkeeper Karim Bello was called to action on two of occasions before the break but he stood tall.
Captain Nyaba Bryan and his new defense mates Bawak, Api and Mbom protected the advantage till the break.
Brilliant Awahmukala had a relatively quiet first 45 minutes while the likes of Moluh Mohamed, John Paul Nzong and Leonel Ateba also had their moments.
Coach Martin Nkabyo’s half-time team talks must have had some fixing discussions going by the number of misplaced passes in the first-half.
Elgeco however showed more hunger and desire in the second segment forcing possesion off PWD on a number of ocassions and breaking through counters. Full-backs Bawak and Api were busier in the second segment.
Poor combinations in the final third was the undoing of the Abakwa boys; denying them the insurance goal even after the introduction of forwards Tangko and Fabrice Fotue.
Elgeco Plus took advantage of a poor defensive organization to level three minutes from time to level through substitute Renaivoson Zonesto.
The goal silenced the over one thousand fans present. However PWD were unlucky not to win it in added time as Fotue’s header went inches off the post.
The game ended on a 1-1 score after five minutes of added; thus creating an exciting scenario for the second-leg fixture at Antananarivo next weekend.
PWD needs a win to progress the second round of the competition while Elgeco only needs a goalless draw to go through to the next round in their third appearance in the CAF Confederation Cup.
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