•Coton Sport are through to the Semi-final of the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time since 2003.
By Beng Emmanuel
Coton Sport have qualified for the semi-final of the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time in 18-years after a 2-2 aggregate draw with ASC Jaraaf.
The 2003 vice champions proceeded to the last four of the African inter-club competition despite losing the return leg of the quarter-final 1-2 at the Demba Diop Stadium in Senegal on Sunday. Coton Sport were leading 1-0 before kick-off thanks to their first leg lead but fell behind in the return fixture. But they succeeded to pave their way through thanks to the away goal rule.
It wasn’t an easy match for the CAF CC semi-final bound who were sorely missing creativity and intuition. They were almost denied the occasion to advance and were largely the second best throughout the entertaining tie.
Arnaud Sibiri opened the scoring with an instinctive finish, but it was cancelled by Albert Diene. Papa Abdou Ndiaye handed Jaraaf the lead in the second half but they were rather unfortunate not to score the winning goal before a determined Coton Sport side.
Jaraaf of Senegal had the better of the early chances during the opening half. The Senegalese side conjured clear-cut chances but missed a chunk of those opportunities strangely.
Narcisse Nlend was the most busy of the two keepers. He was frequently forced into action but produced some important saves to prevent Ousmane Mbengue, Papa Abdou Ndiaye and Albert Diene from scoring.
Coton Sport responded brilliantly by taking the lead when Arnaud Sibiri’s fine finish beat Pape N’diaye at the far corner. Jaraaf laboured to get back on equal terms but their efforts were frustrated by the visitors.
Their constant pressing paid off shortly after the half hour mark. Albert Diene capitalised from a poorly cleared ball in Coton Sport’s defence to level scores.
The host came out of the break with greater fervour. They produced an impressive commanding second half display but could not reach target. Coton Sport managed to repel most of the pressure but capitulated at the 55th minute when a hideous defensive blunder from Salomon Banga helped Papa Abdou Ndiaye put Jaraaf deservedly in front.
Jaraaf had begun celebrating their third-a goal which implied they could out rightly claim the semi-final spot at the expense of Coton Sport, but it was ruled out for offside.
The Senegalese side poured upfront to change the narrative of the game but the winning goal proved elusive. There were plenty of missed chances from the host in the late minutes of the second half but they missed the chance to qualify.
Coton Sport are the first Cameroonian side to reach the semi-final of the CAF Confederation Cup after their last appearance in 2003. The Garoua based outfit have taken a step further to clinch their maiden continental trophy.
They will face JS Kabylie-who beat CS Sfaxien 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-final.