IF there is anything that How Mine will have to do to be assured of a 2014 Caf Confederation Cup group stages appearance, it will be to score goals in Nigeria against Bayelsa United FC at the weekend after allowing the West Africans to score at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
How Mine beat Bayelsa United 2-1 in the second round first leg, courtesy of a late penalty by Menard Mupera after the match seemed headed for a draw.
The Nigerians scored first just after half time, but the outstanding Morris Kadzola levelled before he was brought down inside the penalty box in added time for How Mine to earn the spot kick. But it will definitely be tough for the gold miners in Nigeria.
After the slim victory on Saturday, head coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube admitted it was not going to be easy in Nigeria.
“Winning at home was an advantage for us, but it is not going to be easy in Nigeria. We are going there to work hard and believe me; it is going to be a shocker. It will be a different strategy altogether,” Ncube said.
Saturday was a tale of wasted chances with How Mine congesting their midfield with Mupera, Xolisani Moyo, Edmore Muzanenhamo, Thembani Masuku and James Chitereki.
But on the break, they failed to utilise most of their chances with Mupera failing to find the target three minutes into the game after Bayelsa defender Mutiu Adegoke had fluffed on a clearance inside the box.
Five minutes later, How Mine were awarded a free-kick just outside the penalty box after Masuku was hacked down, but Muzanenhamo skied his effort. Chitereki also missed a sitter after Kadzola’s cross had eluded goalkeeper Gideon Gambo in the 16th minute while Moyo hit the side net 10 minutes before the break from a promising position.
Kuda Musharu, tightly marked by Bayelsa captain Junior Saloman, broke loose on the right just before the break and his cross was punched away by Gambo and Masuku failed on the rebound.
How Mine might live to regret chances missed at home. Bayelsa also parked the bus, playing one striker Peter Ebimobowei up front, but had troublesome Bernard Okorowanta, who scored their only goal a minute after the break.
After that goal, the Nigerians let loose and resorted to attacking football hoping to score more goals, but after How Mine equalised they once again reverted to their defensive style of play.
Despite being unhappy with the penalty awarded to How Mine, Bayelsa coach Richard Bubagha said they were definitely going to win the tie back home.
Bayelsa held FC Kondzo to a goal-less draw in Congo Brazzaville in the first round first leg and dismissed them 2-0 in Nigeria to cruise through to the second round.