Niger Tornadoes were dealt a bitter dose of reality as they fell to a 2-1 loss to visitors from Conakry, Santoba FC, in the first leg of the 2019/2020 CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna on Saturday.
The visiting side showed more grit from kick-off against a Tornadoes side that seemed unprepared for the encounter.
Santoba got their first chance of the game when they earned the first corner kick which was quickly cleared by the home side. A succession of counter-attacking play put midfielders Saib Dosso and Nosiru Afeez on their toes.
With both sides struggling to find momentum, the encounter turned into a box-to-box affair with the midfield of both teams putting in extra work to find the back of the net.
Ousmane Kamara broke the deadlock in the 37th minute to put the visitors ahead of the home side, which they took into the break.
In the second half, skirmishes from both sides proved only successful for Santoba as Ibrahima Sory Camara doubled the visitors’ lead in the 55th minute.
The Ikon Allah boys were not going down without a fight as they continued to put pressure on Santoba, which eventually led to a penalty for the home side.
Godwin Zaki was well on target from the spot as he sent the Santoba keeper the wrong way to give his side a thin lifeline. He continued to put pressure on the opponent’s goalkeeper but his efforts ended in the safe hands of the goaltender.
Tornadoes will look to offset the goal deficit and possibly pick up a qualification ticket to the next round when they travel to Conakry for the second leg of the preliminary phase in two weeks.