Marumo Gallants FC reached the Caf Confederation Cup play-off round after stunning DR Congolese giants AS Vita Club in Kinshasa, DR Congo on Friday evening.
Bahlabane Ba Ntwa fought back to hold Vita Club to a 1-1 draw in the second round second-leg clash at Stade des Martyrs and they emerged 3-2 winners on aggregate.
Gallants came into the match leading on aggregate thanks to Celimpilo Ngema’s brace which inspired the PSL side to a 2-1 victory at Peter Mokaba Stadium last week Friday.
The visitors conceded 19 minutes into the game when Jacques Mangoba scored with a thunderous long-range shot which beat goalkeeper Washington Arubi hands down to hand Vita Club a 1-0 lead.
Thabo Mnyamane looked lively for Bahlabane Ba Ntwa as his free-kick narrowly missed keeper Nelson Lukong’s left upright as Gallants pushed for the equalizing goal.
The Cameroonian shot-stopper then produced a fine save at the back post to deny former SuperSport United forward Mnyamane.
Vita Club, who won the Caf Champions League title in 1973, were leading 1-0 during the half-time break with the two teams locked at 2-2 on an aggregate and the DR Congolese giants were leading on the away aggregate.
Mpho Maleka – Gallants’ interim coach – introduced Katlego Otladisa, who joined dribbling wizard Joseph Malongoane upfront as the away side looked to pile pressure on the hosts.
Bahlabane Ba Ntwa played long balls and set-pieces into the Black Dolphins’ box and they managed to snatch a late equalising goal in stoppage time.
A long ball was played into the Vita Club box which the hosts failed to clear and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo pounced and scored with a header at the far post in stoppage time.
The goal ensured that the encounter ended in 1-1 draw and it was Gallants, who advanced to the play-off round of Africa’s secondary club competition.
Gallants, who are making their debut appearance in Caf competitions, and the other 15 winners on aggregate will be joined by the 16 losing teams from the Champions League second round.
The 16 winners from the Confederation Cup play-off round will advance to the group stage.