RS Berkane of Morocco, winners of the last two editions of the CAF Confederation Cup, secured a 2-2 away draw against emerging high flying contenders, Nigeria’s Bendel Insurance, on Saturday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
Coming from ascendancy in a strong local league and continental competitions, RS Berkane pulled off the draw despite grieving in the home country, Morocco, following a devastating earthquake penultimate Friday, in which over 3,000 persons lost their lives, and still counting with several injured.
In respect for the victims of the earthquake, players of both teams put on black armbands, a one minute of silence was observed and prayers were said for the souls of the departed at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium before match kick-off.
Bendel Insurance won the CAF Confederation Cup in 1994, while RS Barkane won the CAF Confederation Cup in 2020 and 2022.
In Saturday’s match, Bendel Insurance, better known as Adaa Bendel, featured the 4-4-2 formation, while RS Barkane played 4-3-3. The CAF match officials included centre refree, Lamin N. Jammeh from Gambia, with Sanusie Rashid from Sierra Leone, as referee assessor and Thankgod Coleman from Nigeria as the medical officer. While Bendel Insurance turned out in yellow jersey over yellow trunk, RS Barkane donned orange and black.
Insurance goalkeeper, Amas saved two attempts at goal from RS Berkane 18 minutes into the highly contested encounter.
A 22nd minute free kick was awarded to Insurance but could not be converted. Yet another free kick was awarded to the Monday Odigie’s side in the 23rd minute and was again wasted.
However, offensive arrowhead, Imade Osarenkhoe scored the Insurance’s first goal, breaking out of a melee in the 29th minute of the first half.
RS Barkane equalized in a spirited rebound in 38th minute, despite an impressive effort by Insurance goalminder, Amas to thwart their efforts.
Commendations were reeled out across the stands to the fair officiating of the centre referee in the match which saw both sides flashed a yellow cards.
The first-half witnessed an addition of two extra minutes following 45 minutes of regulation time.
The second-half started at 5:06 pm and immediately, a free kick was awarded to Insurance and Obata was unable to translate it to the back of the RS Barkane net.
On 61 minutes of play, Bendel Insurance’s Vincent Augustus scored the second goal, putting his team in the lead once again.
RS Barkane again leveled up the score line in the 79th minute by No 10 Jersey, Mohamed El Morabit.
The match ended 2-2 at the end of five additional minutes granted in the second-half.
The reverse fixture will come up in two weeks time in Morocco.