Veteran striker Salahdin Said scored both goals to lift the Horsemen over their visitors, and advance 3-0 on aggregate.
‘Les Fauves de Niari’ kept piling on the pressure; however Saint George’s backline, yet to concede this term at the continental level in the Champions League, stood firm.
The deadlock was broken when AC Leopards goalie Dule Lutunu’s clearance was deflected in by the on rushing Said to put the host ahead ahead in the 16th minute.
Said could have doubled the lead as his goal bound free header struck the inner post leaving Lutunu stranded.
Down by a goal, the visitors struggled to cope up with the homers. Burkinabe-import Prince Waongo’s effort was cleared off the line by Leopards skipper Tilton Ngounga three minutes after the half-hour mark. Minutes later Waongo squared a superb ball to Adane Girma, only for the latter to blast over the bar inside the penalty area.
Upon resumption, AC Leopards came out stronger but their effiency in the final third was their bane.
In the 55th minute, Saint George’s Ugandan goalie, Robert Odongkara, denied AC Leopards winger Mouzita the leveller from a tight angle before Joviale Varel struck wide from 25 meters out four minutes later.
Leopards goalie Lutunu came out of his goal post as he took part on corner kick at the other end of the goal but the corner kick was cleared by Saint’s backline before Said completed his brace firing into the empty net to crush Leopards hope in stoppage time.
Saint George trainer Martinus Igantius Nooij told CAFonline.com that his charges should have finished off the tie in the first half.
“We came across against a very good opponent. They tried to press us from the first minute as our boys started off a little bit nervous. We were very structured and very organized. So when Salahdin’s goal came it was a big relief for us. Moreover, we should have finished the tie in the first half. We missed out some clear goal scoring opportunities. We created a lot of chances that is also a compliment for the team as we played better,” said Nooij.
The victory sends Saint George to the group stage, a result which sent fans, players and President of the club, Abenet Gebre Meskel, who was recently awarded the CAF Order of Merit - Gold for his contribution to African Football, into a party mood.