Despite brave resistance from visitors Jaraaf, Cameroon’s Cotonsport did enough to secure a 1-0 home victory in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup tie against the team from Senegal. Star forward Lambert Araina scored his fifth goal of the competition late on to clinch the narrow victory and take advantage of their numerical superiority over Jaraaf, who played the majority of the match a player down following Cheikou Kone’s dismissal for a second yellow card.
Cotonsport attempted to establish a lead early on and nearly found the opener on six minutes when full-back Hassana Mamoudou headed a free kick delivery off the post and out. Numerous bookings were handed out by the referee in a heated match and ill discipline would become a factor in the outcome. Each team was booked three times in the first half but unfortunately for Jaraaf, Kone’s poor challenge in the 37th minute was inexcusable because it earned him his second yellow card and subsequent red card far too easily.
The bookings subsided after the scoreless first stanza but the intensity and regular fouling remained. Despite Kone’s sending off, Jaraaf managed to maintain a threat on the road and the Cameroonian hosts relaxed a bit too much for their fans’ comfort. Pape N’Diaye had a great chance to get the opener for the Senegalese side but couldn’t put his header from close range on target close to the hour mark.
It seemed like Jaraaf might escape from the first leg without conceding due to some spectacular saves by keeper Pape Seydou Ndiaye, but Cotonsport regained their focus and finally found the winner late in the match. Mamoudou burst down the right flank in the 89th minute and lashed in a perfect cross for striker Araina, who just beat Ndiaye to the ball and got enough of a foot to redirect it off the far post and into the net.
All things considered, Jaraaf will be glad that the early red card did not doom them to a decisive defeat and will be encouraged at their chances to overturn the deficit next week in Dakar. Highlights of the match are below.