Hamed Diomande’s 38th minute penalty was all Ivorian champions ASEC Mimosas needed to beat their Nigerian counterparts, Lobi Stars in their 2018/19 CAF Champions League group stage game in Abidjan on Saturday.
The hosts were bottom of Group A before Saturday’s game at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium but moved themselves to second on the spot tentatively when Diomande picked up himself after he was adjudged to have been fouled by Ebube Duru to send Olufemi Kayode the wrong direction from the spot.
Lobi Stars made just one change to the team which beat Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend in Enugu, experienced right back Solomon Kwambe playing in centre back in place of Ekene Olisema.
Four minutes after Diomande’s goal seven minutes before the break, ASEC thought they had doubled their lead after Kayode kept out Gonazo’s free kick but the rebound which was converted at the second attempt was chalked off for offside.
There were chances for both sides in both halves but Lobi Stars’ best chance of the game was spurned by the only foreigner in their starting lineup – Yaya Kone fourteen minutes from time. The crafty Ivorian had made way for himself, going past two of his markers but somewhat inexplicably fired wide from just twelve yards.
Goalkeeper Kayode kept the visitors at bay for the remainder of the game and denied Patrick Malo what could have been a spectacular goal in the 89th minute as the hosts hanged on to their narrow win which took them ahead of their opponents on goals difference.
Lobi Stars will host Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca in their next game on Friday, February 1, 2019 at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu.