Despite winning 3-2 in the second leg in Antananarivo, they went on to exit the tournament on the away goal rule.
CNaPS are eying their maiden appearance beyond the preliminary hurdle in their third attempt and coach Rebaherisoa Herybe is optimistic they will nail their target this time.
“We lost here last year, and we went back rectified our mistakes. Today, our mission was to pick all the three points from the match. We did not want to come and defend. The win is priceless to us and I am so happy,” Herybe told CAFOnline after the match.
Substitute Mandampisoa Lalaina Jacques scored the winner in the 83rd minute after Enock Agwanda’s penalty had cancelled out CNaPS early lead, Riajala Raherindivo having hit the back of the net on the quarter hour mark.
At the end of the 90 minutes, Gor Mahia’s assistant coach Frank Ouna admitted that CNaPS were hungrier and his charges paid the price for a lacklustre approach.
“We have to wake up because our performance today was not good. We did not approach the game well and CNaPS showed desire and hunger definitely because they did not want to lose a second time. It is a poor day for us, but I believe the tie is not lost. We still have 90 minutes in two weeks and we will strengthen before then,” Ouna said.
Gor’s backline which conceded the least number of goals in the domestic league last season was at sixes and sevens and Karim Nzigiyimana, reigning Kenyan Premier League defender of the year had an afternoon to forget. The Burundian right back was uncharacteristically sloppy in both his defending and passing.
It was clear that Gor missed their menacing forward from last season. Rwandese Meddie Kagere, Michael Olunga and Victor Ali Abondo, all who collectively scored 65 goals in the season for Gor were missing. While Olunga and Kagere have since left the club, Abondo is attending trials with South African outfit Ajax Cape Town.
The two who have replaced them upfront, Jacob Keli and Agwanda struggled to fill in the huge shoes.
Again, the Gor backline was caught off and were lucky not to go two down on the half hour mark. Rakotoharinalola had picked the ball in midfield before sending Jeanot Vombola through. However, after skipping past Gor Mahia keeper Boniface Oluoch, Vombola could not get the right cut back and the Gor defense managed to clear away the danger.
But Gor tried to pile pressure on the other end, and it was the burly Agwanda who came to their rescue. The striker scored from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute after a handball inside the box, following an Abouba Sibomana cross from the left.
With the equalizer, Gor went back to the dressing room with some belief that the final 45 would gift them a win and a comfortable passage ahead of the return leg.
They resumed with some space and had two quick chances in the opening ten minutes.
Gor’s Scottish tactician Frank Nuttall went back to his board and re-arranged his attacking options. He pulled out George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo for youngster Erick Marcelo Ouma while Keli went off for Ronald Omino.
But not even the change could sway CNaPS to coil into a defensive unit. Despite Gor lambasting their half with attacks, the visitors went forward whenever an opportunity arose.
In the 83rd minute, they were two up and clearly a foot into the first round judging by their celebrations. Substitute Jacques had an easy task of tapping past Oluoch at the far post after Gor captain Musa Mohammed had cleared an initial effort off the line from a counter, Jacques was fed with the ball at the far post from the loose ball and he did what was required of him.
CNaPS managed to hold on to the win and despite five minutes of added time, their defensive masterplan could not be broken.
“All is not lost from this match. It is a wake-up call to us that we must work harder and rise from the defeat. We lost against Bandari (In the Super Cup) last weekend and another loss is definitely not welcomed,” skipper Mohammed told CAFOnline.
Gor will quickly shift their attention to a league fixture on Wednesday against Chemelil Sugar.