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Nigerian Champions Enyimba Crash Out Of CAF Champions League In First Round

 

Record league winners Enyimba have crashed out of the CAF Champions League following a goalless draw against Al Ahli Benghazi of Libya. 

The People’s Elephants as they are called needed a one-goal advantage to advance to the next round of the competition after losing 3-4 in the first leg of the game.

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But it was not to be for Coach George Finidi’s side as they failed to find the back of the net at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba on Sunday.

This is the first time since 2015 that the Nigerian champions will be eliminated in the preliminary round of the tournament they have won twice – the only club side from the country to have done so.

Enyimba were one of two former champions to bow out after the first qualifying round with V Club from the Democratic Republic of Congo the other losers.

Former title-holders ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast, Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, FAR Rabat of Morocco, Hafia of Guinea and Orlando Pirates of South Africa secured places in the last-32 round.

Enyimba, back-to-back African champions in 2003 and 2004, recently appointed former Arsenal and Nigeria star Nwankwo Kanu as chairman and were confident of making an impact in Africa.

But after scoring three times in the intimidating fortress of Benghazi, they could not manage even one goal at home. A 1-0 win for Enyimba would have sufficed to win the tie.

Unlike Europe, who scrapped the away-goal rule in club competitions two years ago, it still applies in Africa.

Benghazi, whose best Champions League performance was eliminating then title-holders Al Ahly of Egypt in a 2014 qualifier, now face ASEC for one of 16 group place.

Enyimba’s ouster comes less than a day after Bendel Insurance reached the next stage of the CAF Confederation Cup after seeing off Aso Chlef 4-3 on penalties. The two-legged tie had ended 1-1.

Emmanuel Egobiambu

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Emmanuel Egobiambu

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