Bendel Insurance, defeated Algerian side ASO Chlef 1-0 in their CAF Confederation Cup first-round match played in Benin City on Saturday. Forward Imade Osarenkhoe got the game’s only goal shortly before the half-time break to put his side in the driving seat ahead of the return leg in Algeria next week.
It was a full house at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium as Bendel Insurance took to the pitch for their first continental game since 2005 when they faced King Faisal Babes of Ghana.
Meanwhile, coach Monday Odigie handed a competitive debut to new signings Stanley Okorom, Paul Obata, and Ezekiel Tamara – who delivered a man-of-the-match performance, while influential midfielder Divine Nwachukwu was not listed for the match.
Insurance started the match quite lively, but they failed to create meaningful chances in the opening quarter of the game. However, it was the visitors who went close to opening the scoring but skipper Abdelkabir Boussaid failed to get his effort on target.
From that moment on, Bendel took charge of the game and kept pushing for the opener. Imade missed a couple of gilt-edged chances, while his partner Ismael Seriki also failed to take the chances that fell to him as well.
Bendel Insurance's first goal of the 2022/23 season – Imade Osarenkhoe
Bendel Insurance's first goal of the 2023/24 season – Imade Osarenkhoe
— Engineer Kowope (@Undisputed_Jsam) August 19, 2023
The 2023 Federation Cup winners were not to be denied three minutes before the break as Imade bundled home a cross from Okorom off a free-kick to put the home side ahead.
The second half was much more competitive as the Algerians started creating chances of their own, while Insurance tried to increase their tally. It was the visitors who created more chances to score but goalkeeper Amas Obasogie and some astounding defending by Benjamin Tanimu prevented that from happening. In the end, it finished on a winning note for Insurance, who will need a near-perfect performance away from home to go through.
Insurance will travel to Algeria next weekend with a slim lead with the hope of making it to the final qualifying round where 2022 Confed Cup champions RS Berkane are waiting.
Image credit: Sport Retina