Hearts humbled in Mali …In CAF Confederation Cup competition

Former African giants Hearts of Oak were humbled 3-0 by Real Bamako of Mali on Saturday in a CAF Confederation Cup last 32 first leg.

The home side led 2-0 at half-time and completed the win 15 minutes from time to leave the Ghanaian outfit with a difficult second leg task on Sunday.

Ibourahima Sidibe opened the scoring after just 11 minutes and Denis Korsah conceded an own goal before the break.

After Hearts twice came close to reducing the deficit, Cheickna Diakite was given time and space by the tiring Ghanaians to net the third goal in Bamako.

Scoring three times will boost Real morale in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League as they failed to score at home or away in a preliminary tie settled by a penalty shootout.

Hearts won three CAF competitions — the Champions League, Super Cup and Confederation Cup — between 2000 and 2004 and a bright future seemed ahead.

But they failed to build on their successes and if the fall to Real, African powerhouse Ghana will have no representative in the group phase of the 2023 CAF club competitions.

The sacking of Head Coach Samuel Boadu after a winless three-match start to the domestic league disrupted Hearts’ preparations with assistant David Ocloo taking charge.

Azam of Tanzania were another club to suffer a 3-0 away loss, conceding three goals to Al Akhdar of Libya during the final minutes of the opening half in Benghazi.

Egyptian side Pyramids are a team to watch in the Confederation Cup this season having reached the final two years ago and the semi-finals the following season.

They won 2-0 against African newcomers Al HilalAlsahil of Sudan, who moved their home fixture to Pyramids’ ground in Cairo because they lack an international-standard stadium.

Tunisia international Fakhreddine Ben Youssef gave expensively assembled Pyramids an early lead and the second goal came from MostaphaFahmy with 12 minutes remaining.

Ferroviario Beira of Mozambique, one of the less fancied challengers, came from behind to beat Diables Noirs of Congo Brazzaville 2-1 in Maputo with Nigerian OghenemarhoIfoni scoring twice. –AFP

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