Enyimba coach Fatai Osho insists the Nigerian club can reach the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals despite needing to overcome a three-goal deficit when they host Egyptian outfit Pyramids on Sunday.
“This tie is not over,” he told reporters. “Some shocking defending, tiredness and a lack of concentration cost us dearly in Cairo. We were not three goals worse than our opponents.”
Goals by Ramadan Sobhy and Ibrahim Adel came gift-wrapped from hesitant and careless defenders as 2020 runners-up Pyramids established a 4-1 quarter-final first-leg advantage.
Here, AFP Sport looks ahead to the return matches with Pyramids, Raja Casablanca of Morocco and JS Kabylie of Algeria expected to secure last-four places with Jaraaf of Senegal or Coton Sport of Cameroon.
Enyimba v Pyramids
Enyimba have won all four home matches in the Confederation Cup, but each victory has been by a one-goal margin with the team from southeastern city Aba averaging only 1.5 goals per match.
Captain Augustine Oladapo, Victor Mbaoma and Cyril Olisema have claimed seven of the eight goals Enyimba notched in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League, so much will hinge on their performances.
Pyramids have their sights on the semi-finals and a probable meeting with Raja, who beat the expensively assembled Cairo club twice in the group stage.
Raja v Pirates
Raja take a perfect four-victory home record this season into a clash of former CAF Champions League winners against famed Soweto club Orlando Pirates.
Although the odds have tilted toward a Moroccan victory after they forced a 1-1 draw in South Africa, Pirates’ coach Josef Zinnbauer is upbeat despite his side failing to score in their last three away games.
“We respect Raja because they are one of the most successful clubs in Africa, but we travelled to Casablanca without fear. Ben Malango is a dangerous forward and needs to be constantly policed.”
Jaraaf v Coton
Jaraaf and Coton, who take a 1-0 lead to Thies near Dakar, represent countries desperate for African club glory.
No Senegalese club has lifted a African trophy with Jeanne d’Arc coming closest by reaching the 1998 final of the now-defunct CAF Cup.
Cameroon last celebrated success 40 years ago when Union Douala lifted the African Cup Winners Cup, another competition that was discontinued after the 2003 final.
Kabylie v Sfaxien
This north African showdown has taken a surprise turn with Kabylie building a 1-0 advantage in Tunisia over record three-time Confederation Cup title-holders Sfaxien.
The first meeting was a tale of two penalties with leading Sfaxien scorer Firas Chaouat missing and Kabylie captain Redha Bensayah converting.
Kabylie boast an unbeaten home record in Africa this season, winning four matches and drawing one, and are expected to progress given they need only draw to do so.