By Usman Aliyu
Bendel Insurance FC of Benin on Saturday drew 2-2 with visiting RS Berkane of Morocco in the second preliminary stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.
Insurance hosted the Moroccan side for the first leg of the preliminary encounter ahead of the return leg in Berkane, later in the month.
The continental match kicked off at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, with a minute silence observed in honour of the victims of the recent earthquakes in Morocco.
Imade Osarenkhoe’s effort to open the scoreline for Insurance in the first minute was obstructed, while his call for a penalty was ignored by the centre referee.
Adhil Tahif came close to a goal for the visitors after five minutes, but the hosts were quick to clear the ball.
RS Berkane went on to dominate the larger part of the first half before Osarenkhoe scored in the 27th minute to give the hosts a lead.
RS Berkane’s goalkeeper, Amine El Quaad, had parried Tamianu Benjamin’s shot from outside the 18 yard box, but the rebound by Osarenkhoe earned the Benin side 1-0.
The joy did not, however, last long as Youssef Zghoudi equalised for the visitors ten minutes later to go into the halftime tied.
The Nigerian side came into the second stanza more impressive and their efforts paid off in the 61st minute through Vincent Augustus, who extended the tally to 2-1 in favour of the home side.
Bendel Insurance were, however, punished for coming all out to pursue more goals with a counter-attack that earned RS Berkane another equaliser in the 78th minute through Mohammed El Morabit to end the match in stalemate.
Heavy downpour that lasted for most part of the second half of the game obviously affected the movement of the two teams as the field was waterlogged.
To qualify for the group stage, Insurance need a win in Morocco or a better this result if they are to settle for another draw.