Gallants suffer narrow loss to Ahli Tripoli

Celimpilo Ngema
Celimpilo Ngema

Marumo Gallants FC suffered a 1-0 loss to Al Ahly Tripoli in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup group stage play-off on Wednesday evening.

Bahlabane Ba Ntwa initiated two changes from the win over Cape Town City on Saturday in Lesiba Nku for Sibusiso Sibeko and Monde Mphambaniso ahead of Sizwe Mdlinzo.

However, Gallants were on the back-foot right after kick-off as the host went ahead when Anis Saltou beat the offside trap and cut in from a tight angle to apply a near post finish.

Read: TP Mazembe down Royal AM in first-leg play-off tie

Marumo were under further threat over ten minutes thereafter and needed stern goalkeeping from Washington Arubi to keep the host at bay and the score-line down.

The visitors started to come alive after a subdued spell where the runs off-the-ball from Joseph Molangoane and Katlego Otladisa on the wings worried the host.

Otladisa continued to pose problems and cut inside out on the right to bring a low save out of goalkeeper Mohammed Nashnosh with a low curling shot.

Bahlabane Ba Ntwa should’ve drawn level with five minutes from the break through a tap-in from close-range by Thato Khiba, but the latter went over and missed target.

Tripoli very nearly increased their advantage moments into the resumption from a low attempt in the area by Saltou off a ball from the right-side, but Arubi produced a guilt-edge save.

Gallants had a large portion of the ball in the latter exchanges of the half and were able to string passes around their counterparts, as Brendon Mokgope entered for Nku.

The DStv Premiership boys couldn’t orchestrate a comeback as the clock ticked away and left the Libyan giants to a first-leg win.

Here's how they lined up:

Marumo Gallants: Arubi, Khiba, Gumede, Toure, Mabotja, Kumalo, Ngema, Mphambaniso, Otladisa, Molangoane, Nku.

Subs: Ngcobo, Kgoetyane, Nkili, Mokgope, Nonyane

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