Heartland 2-1 US Bitam: Naze Millionaires walking tight rope after unconvincing win in Owerri

The country's flag bearers still have work to do to scale through to the next round after first leg results

Heartland, Nigeria's representatives in the Caf Confederation Cup, have a mountain to climb in Libreville after only managing a 2-1 home win against visiting US Bitam of Gabon in the first leg, first round tie played at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Sunday.

Jolly Osas scored the Naze Millionaires opening goal in the 22nd minute after a mix up from the defence of US Bitam. A floated long thrust from Heartland's player was left for goalkeeper Stephen Bitsiki to catch but Osas found his way to nod the ball beyond his reach as the ball settled into the net.

Isa Akor doubled Heartland's advantage in the 52nd minute when he reacted fast enough to an inviting cross from the flank by David Tyavkase. He was unfortunate not to have scored earlier after his effort was wrongly adjudged offside in the 13th minute.

The visitors benefitted from the Naze Millionaires' momentary loss of concentration to get the precious away goal in the 54th minute through Alain Djessikadle whose angular shot went past Ebele Obi who was until then a complete spectator in the goal line of Heartland.

US Bitam was reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute when Emmanuel Ndonomba deservedly got his second yellow card after fouling Tope Olusesi who was clearly goal bound.

Despite having numerical advantage Heartland couldn't get another goal until the centre referee signalled the final whistle.

They will have their hands full in the second leg tie slated for Libreville in the weekend of 5-7 April.

The Naze Millionaires frittered away many scoring chances and could rue this in the return leg encounter where a solitary goal for the Gabonese could mark their exit from the second tier Africa's club competition.

Meanwhile, the nation's other standard bearer in the same competition Lobi Stars also squeezed past their opponent Liga Muculmuna of Maputo 3-1 in the first leg played at the Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi.

The visitors drew the first blood within a minute of the game but Lobi fought back and netted three of their own through Stanley Aigbe, Stephen Eze and John Lawrence.

In the Caf Champions League, Enugu Rangers held hosts Vital'O of Burundi to a goalless draw in Bujumbura.

The second leg will be played in a fortnight.