Continental football returned to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin as Bendel Insurance vs ASO Chlef took centre stage on Saturday evening.
Once a formidable Nigerian club, Bendel Insurance, were back in Africa after a 17-year absence, with a challenging passage on to the CAF Confederation Cup group stage against a formidable Algerian side, ASO Chlef.
A late first half goal from their talismanic forward Imade Osarenkhoe gave Bendel Insurance 1-0 win ahead of the return leg.
Full time at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium
🇳🇬 Insurance 1-0 Aso Chlef 🇩🇿
What are your thoughts 🤔💭? pic.twitter.com/6pAyh0QLME
— Leagues Reporter (@LeaguesReporter) August 19, 2023
Bendel Insurance ahead at half-time
Monday Adigie's side were involved in a keenly contested affair throughout the first period of the encounter with nothing to separate both sides until the moment of magic from their last season's top scorer.
A brilliant cross from the right was floated into the danger area of the visitors and Imade Osarenkhoe did what he knows how to do best! The 22-year-old striker tucked the ball home at the far post to hand the Nigeria FA Cup Champions the lead deep into first-half added time, just when the match was looking to head into the break on stalemates.
Bendel Insurance held on for a slender win
It's important to mention that this is Benin Arsenal's second appearance at the CAF Confederation Cup. Their previous outing ended in the second round.
The second period of the match played out like the first half except that no goals were scored.
Tamara Ezekiel of Bendel Insurance bossed the midfield for much of the game with decent performance as well coming from Paul Obata but none of that resulted in further goals for Adigie's outfit.
ASO Chlef defended well and remained compact for the entire second period, making sure they conceded no further goals as the match ended 1-0 in favour of the home side.
The Benin Arsenal will take a slender lead to Algeria for the second leg which promises to be a daunting 90 minutes affair for the Nigerians.
A tough second leg awaits Bendel Insurance in Algeria
Monday Adigie's side take a slim advantage into the second preliminary match against ASO Chlef that will be played in Algeria on 26 August.
It is worth mentioning that Nigerian clubs have found it difficult in their visits to North Africa. As a matter of fact, the North African teams have dominated NPFL clubs in almost every visit to their region in the past years.
Granted, in football nothing is impossible but the outcome of this first leg spells difficulty for Adigie's side ahead of the second matchup. A 1-0 win is never enough for Nigerian clubs to hold on to in their trips to North Africa.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago