What you need to know:
- Merreikh opted to host the match in Nairobi since there is no Caf approved stadium in South Sudan
- Merreikh is the first team from South Sudan to ever compete in the second round of the continental showpiece
- After a closely contested first half, Do Lobito returned stronger and dominated the entire second-half of the encounter
Al-Merreikh FC Juba of South Sudan and Angola’s Academica Petroleos do Lobito on Sunday battled to a barren draw in the first leg match of the second round of 2023/24 Caf Confederation Cup held at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.
Merreikh opted to host the match in Nairobi since there is no Caf approved stadium in South Sudan. In the low key encounter, Do Lobito wasted several scoring chances that would have seen them kill the game.
Merreikh is the first team from South Sudan to ever compete in the second round of the continental showpiece.
In their maiden appearance in the competition during the 2018/2019 campaign, Merreikh crashed out in the first round after losing 2-0 on aggregate to Zambia’s Green Buffaloes.
To progress to this campaign’s second round, the South Sudanese side defeated Haidob En Nahud of Sudan 1-0 on aggregate. For Do Lobito, they edged out La Passe of Seychelles 4-3 on aggregate.
“I had no knowledge of how the team (do Lobito) play prior to this match so I’m satisfied with the result. Now that I know one or two things about them, we are going to prepare well for the return leg. I’m going to work on the midfield and attack ahead of the match,” said Merreikh coach Simon James.
His opposite number Abel Jende said: “We should have scored at least one goal. We will go back to Angola and play to win the match because now we know the opponent very well.”
The return leg will be played in Angola on September 30.
After a closely contested first half, Do Lobito returned stronger and dominated the entire second-half of the encounter.
The Angolan side made a change at the restart with Pedro Maienga coming in for Jose Makusa. They then took the game into the hosts half with Antonio Quintas testing goalkeeper Michael Orji with a ferocious shot from the left.
Six minutes into the second half, the visitors attacked again through captain Victorino Tchyonga’s free-kick delivery which went begging.
They continued to dominate the exchange with Merreikh's goalkeeper Orji denying Makusa from close range in the 64th minute.
The South Sudanese side survived another scare when Varela Bicho failed to complete a brilliant move inside the box.
The hosts' real scoring chance in the second half arrived in the 83rd minute but Jimmy Michael fired over the crossbar.