AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville scored three minutes from time to hold Djoliba of Mali 2-2 in Bamako Sunday and become favourites to lift the Orange CAF Confederation Cup. The return match is scheduled for November 25 in Dolisie and a Leopards win or a 0-0 or 1-1 draw will secure the trophy, $660,000 prize money, and a first CAF title for a Congolese club since CARA won the 1974 African Champions Cup.
Leopards trounced Djoliba 3-0 at home in the mini-league phase of the second-tier club competition last month after drawing 1-1 in Bamako, and the latest meeting suggests the Congolese have the measure of the Malians. Rochel Kivouri put Leopards ahead midway through the first half and Alou Bagayoko equalised before half-time by converting a penalty to claim his fourth goal of the competition this season. Bagayoko and Mahamane Cisse wasted chances for Djoliba and Cesaire Gandze squandered a great scoring opportunity for Leopards before Salif Coulibaly nudged the home team ahead 16 minutes from time. But the fighting spirit which has transformed Leopards from rank outsiders into title favourites came to the fore again with time ticking away and Heritier Ngouelou levelled.
Fans have to wait until this sunday to know the name of the new Orange CAF Confederation Cup champion.