Egyptian side Haras El-Hodoud will take a slender advantage into the second leg of the African Confederation Cup third round after beating DR Congo club Motema Pembe 2-1 in Cairo on Sunday.
The Alexandria-based club went ahead after 17 minutes when striker Ahmed Hassan Mekki dived to head home a deep cross from the left.
Striker Tresor Matondo brought Pembe level four minutes later after making the most of a defensive lapse.
He nipped in between defenders Islam Radwan and Ahmed Saied ‘Oka’ to run onto a through ball and notch home with aplomb.
Oka made amends nine minutes after the break when he converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Ahmed Salem to restore El-Hodoud’s advantage.
The hosts, who were affected by the absence of influential forwards Ahmed Eid and Ahmed Abdel-Ghany, piled on pressure late in the game but could not extend their lead.
“I believe the result could have been better for us,” Pembe’s Tunisian coach Mohamed Nassr El-Dine said in a television interview after the match.
“We could have done better but we failed to take advantage of the absences in El-Hodoud’s squad.”
El-Hodoud will be looking to defend their slender lead when they face Pembe in Kinshasa in a fortnight.
The Egyptian Cup holders failed to get beyond the Confederation Cup’s group stage during the past three seasons.