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Football: Heartland take slim lead

Heartland players celebrate their late winner against Mazembe in the African Champions League final first leg.
Heartland players celebrate their late winner against Mazembe in the African Champions League final first leg.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Heartland of Nigeria lead after first leg of African Champions League final
  • Heartland beat TP Mazembe of Congo 2-1 in Owerri, south-east Nigeria
  • Uche Agba scores 76th minute winner for Heartland
  • Winners to represent Africa in FIFA Club World Cup in December

(CNN) -- Nigerian side Heartland will take a slender lead into next Sunday's second leg of African Champions League final after beating TP Mazembe of Congo 2-1 in their home leg.

Visitors Mazwembe opened the scoring after 22 minutes as star striker Tresor Mputu Mabi shocked the capacity home crowd in the Dan Aylam Stadium in Owerri.

But the hosts only trailed for four minutes as Flying Eagles midfielder King Osanga equalized.

Heartland striker Uche Agba sealed the victory in the 76th minute, but they face a tough task in the second leg in Lubumbashi in the Congo.

Their coach Kelechi Emetole told www.cafonline.com: "It was particularly a difficult game, because it's a final.

"I believe it's possible to win on away soil," he added.

Mazembe coach Diego Garzitto believed his team should have shared the spoils:

"I am very disappointed with the scoreline," was his verdict.

"We have all to play for now in the return leg but with the fans behind us, we should be able to win at home."

Mazembe are the Congo's last winner's of Africa's elite club competition, triumphing in 1968 and 1969 before losing finals in the next two years.

Heartland are bidding to become the first Nigerian winners since Enyimba in 2004.

It was particularly a difficult game, because it's a final
--Kelechi Emetole

They created several chances to go ahead before Mabi took advantage of slack defending to put Mazembe ahead.

The promising Osanga leveled with a fine individual goal, but it was not until 14 minutes from time that Heartland's leading scorer Agba converted after a long through ball from midfield.

At stake for the eventual aggregate winners next Sunday will be a prize check for $1.5 million and a place in the prestigious FIFA Club World Cup in December in the United Arab Emirates.