Francis Rafaralahy scored late into stoppage time to hand hosts CNaPS Sport an important victory against KCCA of Uganda on Saturday.
The Ugandan champions were headed for a 1-1 result until the 92nd minute when Rafaralahy rose to the occasion with a late header to deny them a draw on the road.
The Ugandan side dominated the proceedings at the Vontovorona Stadium in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, only to succumb to the late strike.
Despite picking up the important away goal on their trip on the Indian Ocean Island, KCCA will be heading back to Kampala with a lot of questions flashing in the mind of coach Mike Mutebi, especially about the missed opportunities ahead of the return leg.
KCCA kicked-off the game on a high and could have gone two goals up in the opening six minutes, but that did not quite happen as the Ugandans blew away chance after chance.
Both Shaban Muhammad and Mustapha Kizza almost gave the visitors the lead in the opening exchanges, but their strikes were kept at bay by a hard-working Ando Andriamalala between the sticks.
Shaban missed a golden opportunity from point-blank range in the 5th minute after he was set up by Julius Poloto as KCCA mounted pressure on the host.
Kizza sent another rocket free-kick a minute later, but his powerful shot was pushed away by Andoniaina as the Kasasiro boys’ exerted pressure on the host for an early goal.
A wasteful KCCA blew away another chance in the 38th minute when Timothy Awany floated the ball into space before Kizza sent in a thumping header that rattled the crossbar but a hard working Fenosoa Ratolojanahary cleared the danger.
Awany was once again involved in another golden opportunity for KCCA when he rose above the defenders to head Okello's cross from a corner, but his goal-bound effort was punched away by the custodian.
CNaPS however, managed to soak in the pressure to keep the scoreboard clean at the break despite constant throbbing by the courageous visitors. KCCA drew the first blood eight minutes after resumption after Derrick Nsibambi coolly slotted home.
But CNaPS responded almost immediately with an equalizer from the spot after Fenosoa sent keeper Charles Lukwago the wrong way for 1-1 score line after Filbert Obenchan handled the ball inside the box.
The missed chances, however, came to haunt them when Rafaralahy made good use of the four added minutes to head home the winner in the 92nd minute and hand CNaPS an advantage going into the return leg in Kampala.
CNaPS Sports starting XI: Ando Andriamalala, Fenosoa Ratolojanahary, Lalaina Manampisoa, Milison Niasexe, Francis Rafaralahy, Bourahim Jaotombo, Ronald Rajaonarivelo, Njakanirina Sandratriniaina, Ramanitrandrasana Miandrisoa, Fortuna Rasoanaivoarison and Andoniaina Andrianavalona (C).
KCCA starting XI: Charles Lukwago (GK); Habib Kavuma, Timothy Awany, Filbert Obenchan; Mustapha Kizza, Isaac Kirabira; Allan Okello; Derrick Nsibambi and Muhammad Shaban.