CAF Confed. Cup: Enyimba, Rivers United To Face North African Foes

Enyimba are two-time African champions. Facebook/Enyimba FC

 

Two-time African champions, Enyimba and their Nigerian counterpart, Rivers United have been drawn against Al Ittihad of Libya and Egyptian side Al Masry respectively in the play-off of the CAF Confederations Cup.

“We’ve been paired against Libyan side Al Ittihad for the playoff round of the #CAFCC,” Enyimba said in a statement on its official Facebook page.

“The 1st leg will be played at the home of the Libyan side, while we’ll host the return fixture on the 1st weekend in December.”

Enyimba reached the play-off after beating Senegalese team Dimbars 4-0 on aggregate while Rivers United dropped to Africa’s second-tier competition following their elimination from the CAF Champions League. The Pride of Rivers lost 2-1 on aggregate to Al-Hilal of Sudan.

The first-leg games will take place on November 28 and the second leg is scheduled for December 5. Winners will advance to the group stage of the tournament.

Full Play-off Fixtures 

Nouadhibou (Mauritania) – Coton Sport (Cameroon)
US Gendarmerie Nationale (Niger) – DC Motema Pembe (DR Congo)
AS Otoho (Congo) – Gor Mahia (Kenya)
APR (Rwanda) – RS Berkane (Morocco)
TP Mazembe (DR Congo) – Marumo Gallants (South Africa)

Zanaco (Zambia) – Binga (Mali)
Simba (Tanzania) – Red Arrows (Zambia)
ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire) – GD Interclube (Angola)
Hearts of Oak (Ghana) – JS Saoura (Algeria)
Rivers United (Nigeria) – Al Masry (Egypt)
Stade Malien (Mali) – Ahly Tripoli (Libya)/ Biashara United (Tanzania)
Al Ittihad (Libya) – Enyimba (Nigeria)
AS Maniema Union (DR Congo) – Pyramids (Egypt)
LPRC Oilers (Liberia) – Orlando Pirates (South Africa)
Royal Leopards (Eswatini) – JS Kabylie (Algeria)

Tusker (Kenya) – CS Sfaxien (Tunisia)

Glory And Gloom For Nigerian Clubs In CAF Confederation Cup

Enyimba are two-time African champions. Facebook/Enyimba FC

 

There was glory and gloom for Nigerian clubs in CAF Confederation Cup last-32 qualifying with Finidi George’s Enyimba cruising to victory on Sunday, a day after Bayelsa United were humiliated.

Enyimba outclassed Diambars, an academy outfit with links to the French Ligue 1, 3-0 in Aba after taking the lead within two minutes through Tosin Omoyele.

Victor Mbaoma doubled the lead before half-time in southeastern Nigeria and Samuel Kalu completed the rout in the final minute for a 4-0 aggregate triumph.

Former Nigeria World Cup star George recently took charge of the most successful Nigerian club in African competitions with two victories in each of the Champions League and the Super Cup.

But the last of those titles came in 2005, leaving football followers in the most populous African country longing for more CAF silverware.

READ ALSO: [2022 AWCON Qualifier] Super Falcons In Final Round Despite Losing To Ghana

Enyimba, popularly known as the Peoples Elephant, reached the Confederation Cup semi-finals in 2018 and the quarter-finals in 2020 and 2021.

“This club is a sleeping giant in Africa and it is time to win CAF competitions again,” said 1994 and 1998 World Cup midfielder George after his recent appointment.

Victory over Diambars takes Enyimba into a home-and-away play-off against a CAF Champions League last-32 loser during November and December with the draw date to be announced.

A day earlier, second-division Bayelsa conceded four goals in 28 minutes to crash 4-0 away to record three-time Confederation Cup winners CS Sfaxien in Tunisia.

Ivorian Chris Kouakou triggered the onslaught with an 11th-minute goal and Mohamed Ben Ali, Aymen Harzi and Firas Chaouat also netted for the local club in Mediterranean city Sfax.

Sfaxien, who trailed 1-0 after the first leg last weekend, advanced 4-1 on aggregate and are among the favourites to win the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

Another second-division team fared more successfully than Bayelsa with Malian minnows Binga scoring a late goal to beat hosts ASFA Yennenga of Burkina Faso 1-0 and then winning 7-6 on penalties.

Siaka Diaby notched the 85th-minute winner in a west African showdown played in the Ivory Coast because Burkina Faso does not have an international-standard stadium.

JS Kabylie, the Algerian club who finished runners-up to Raja Casablanca in the 2021 final, eliminated another Moroccan club, AS FAR, after Ali Haroun scored twice in a 2-1 home win.

The high-profile north African clash hung in the balance until the fourth minute of added time when Haroun netted a second time to seal a 3-1 overall triumph.

AFP

NPFL 21: Akwa United Beat Enyimba To Keep Title Winning Hopes Alive

 

Charles Atshimene scored a late penalty to give Akwa United a crucial 1-0 win over Enyimba FC, opened a five-point lead at the top, and took a huge step towards the league title.

The Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 32 fixture was played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo. After matchday 31, the Promise Keepers maintained their top position but just two points kept them away from the impressive Kano Pillars and high-scoring Nasarawa United.

The first leg encounter, a matchday 12 fixture played in Aba ended 1-1. Defended, David Philip scored in the 94th minute to rescue a point for Akwa United after a spirited performance by the visitors. Enyimba got into today’s fixture to avenge that result.

It was a tense game and it was confirmed in the 12th minute when Marshall Johnson was pushed down and could not continue after receiving medical attention. He was replaced by Dare Ojo.

Moments later, Ikechukwu Nwani won an aerial ball and sets it up for Sampson Gbadebo whose low drive narrowly miss the target. Great attempt! Enyimba responded. Anayo Iwuala went down after being challenged by Olisa Ndah. Free kick to Enyimba. The effort couldn’t beat the wall, Samuel Amadi cleared it out to safety.

The first half ended goalless. In the second half, both sides went at each other but couldn’t find the goal. Akwa United created a chance in the 64th minute but didn’t take it. Gbadebo sent a long ball forward, Atshimene controlled it so well and set it up for Ubong Friday whose strike went across the face of the goal and goes wide. Enyimba initiated a fine move that ended with Iwuala releasing a shot but it was deflected into the side of the net.

In the 86th minute, Mfon Udoh had a good drive into the box and was brought down. Penalty to Akwa United! Atshimene stepped up to the spot and scored to give coach Kennedy Boboye’s team their 16th win of the season. It was also a record-breaking performance since 2013 (LMC era) for goalkeeper Adewale Adeyinka who recorded his 16th clean sheet of the season. Adeyinka broke Suraj Ayeleso’s record of 15 clean sheets for Nasarawa United in the 2016/2017 season. The Promise Keepers also consolidated their top position with 60 points while Enyimba will stay on 52 points.

 

Kano Pillars, Nasarawa United Setback

Before matchday 32 action, Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United, two major contenders for the top position with Akwa United, failed to close the gap. Both teams were hoping to continue their fine form from matchday 3-1. Pillars thrashed Lobi Stars 3-0 while Nasarawa United beat Jigawa Golden Stars 3-1.

In Akure, Kano Pillars went against a rejuvenated Sunshine Stars team. Beating Heartland FC 0-1 in Owerri in their last match, the Owena Whales, fighting to avoid the drop were ready to take the heat to Sai Masu Gida.

Coach Deji Ayeni retained the same team that stunned Heartland to secure a second away win this season and the team delivered. Babatunde Bello came close to open the scoring for the hosts in the 29th minute but Pillars goalkeeper stopped him. Ifegwu Ojukwu’s effort in the 40th minute was also stopped. The first half ended goalless.

When play resumed, Sunshine Stars kept knocking on the door of the visitors till they opened. In the 59th minute, the reliable Sadeeq Yusuf scored the only goal of the match to secure an important victory. It is Yusuf’s 12th goal of the season, the team’s 9th win of the campaign, and good enough to lift them off the relegation zone. The result dropped Kano Pillars to 4th on the log.

In Nnewi, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, also battling relegation, laboured to a 2-1 victory over Nasarawa United. The Anambra Warriors fell 3-0 to Katsina United in their last match, losing to the Solid Miners would have been disastrous to their league campaign.

The hosts played with intent and in the 29th minute took the lead through Nonso Nzediegwu’s goal. The visitors, playing with the top spot position agenda needed just 2 minutes to respond through Chigozie Obasi. The defender fired in a free-kick from 40 yards, his 4th goal of the season. 1-1. Game on!

It was a tight encounter with both sides in a desperate search for victory. The Solid Miners were reduced to ten men after Sadiq Abdurazaq received a second yellow card for a foul. The hosts capitalised on the man advantage and in the 70th minute, Uzochukwu Ifejiofor delivered the win for the Anambra Warriors to seal just their 8th victory of the season, they improved to 34 points but still rooted in the relegation zone. Nasarawa United retained the second position but now tied on 55 points with Rivers United and Kano Pillars.

 

Back To Winning Ways

At the Okigwe Township Stadium, after losing five consecutive matches, Abia Warriors returned to winning ways with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Kwara United. The Warriors have been struggling and had to dig deep to secure a win over a determined team from Ilorin.

With just five minutes into the encounter, Jide Fatokun stunned the hosts with a goal. It was a screamer! Early lead for the visitors and more worry for coach Imama Amapakabo. The visitors took the lead into the break.

In the second half, the Warriors deployed all they had in search of a goal and they found it in the 66th minute through Paul Samson. It was his 7th goal of the season. From the 80th minute, the match became a tale of Obioma Chukwuemeka.

In the 83rd minute, Chukwuemeka scored but the goal was disallowed. The home spectators couldn’t take it, they felt cheated. The deliberations on the canceled goal halted play for some time. When play resumed, Chukwuemeka took things personal.

He capitalised on a defensive error to shoot the hosts into the lead and the eventual winner. With the hard-fought victory, Abia Warriors, climbed to the 14 position with 38points while the Harmony Boys dropped to the 7th position on 52points. Up next for the Warriors will be Wikki Tourist of Bauchi in Bauchi.

At the Cathedral in Enugu, Rangers International Football Club also returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Wikki Tourists of Bauchi. The Flying Antelopes suffered a 2-0 defeat at Kwara United in their last match and another defeat would have dented their league ambitions. The game against Wikki Tourists was a good test on their character and consistency and they passed it.

An early goal by Godspower Anifiok got the hosts rolling. They sustained the momentum and moments later, Ugochukwu Ugwoke doubled the lead. An own-goal scored by Ernest Governor was the only consolation the visitors took back home. Another win for the Flying Antelopes, their 15th this season, they have gathered 52 points and 7th on the log.

Rivers United also got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over struggling Warri Wolves. The last result for the Pride of Rivers was a 1-1 draw with Enyimba in Aba and the matchday 32 objective was to consolidate on that result.

But it was the visitors who had the first laugh when Emmanuel Ihezuo gave them the lead. Rivers United responded through Godwin Aguda in the 23rd minute. Aguda completed his brace in the 60th minute to secure victory for coach Stanley Eguma’s team who are now 3rd on the log with 55 points.

In Makurdi, Nnamdi Mejuobi’s first-half goal gave Lobi Stars a 1-0 win over Adamawa United, Jigawa Golden Stars beat Plateau United 1-0 while the game between MFM FC and Katsina United in Lagos ended goalless.

On Saturday, Dakkada FC defeated Heartland FC 1-0 to record their 14th win of the season and moved to 9th on the league table. Matchday 32 recorded 17 goals, 9 wins and a draw.

 

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 32 Results

Sunday

Akwa United 1 Enyimba FC 0

Sunshine Stars 1 Kano Pillars 0

FC Ifeanyi Ubah 2 Nasarawa United 1

Abia Warriors 2 Kwara United 1

Rangers Int’l FC 2 Wikki Tourists 1

Rivers United 2 Warri Wolves 1

Lobi Stars 1 Adamawa United 0

Jigawa Golden Stars 1 Plateau United 0

MFM FC 0 Katsina United 0

 

Saturday

Dakkada FC 1 Heartland FC 0

Enyimba Believe They Can Wipe Out Pyramids’ Three-Goal Advantage

A file photo of Eyimba FC players on a football pitch.

 

 

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.

CAFCC: Enyimba Beat South Africa’s Orlando Pirates, Qualify For Quarter-Finals

Enyimba is the only Nigerian team in the tournament and the CAF Champions League. (Photo: Twitter @EnyimbaFC)

 

Enyimba have qualified for the quarter-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup (CAFCC) after a 95th-minute goal from Cyril Olisema gave the Nigerian side a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates on Wednesday night.

The Peoples Elephant needed a win going into their final Group A encounter against the South Africans to advance to the next stage of the competition.
At half-time and with the score pegged goalless, the Aba-based side were at the bottom of the group standings.

While many fans may have given up on the multiple Nigerian champions, Anayo Iwuala’s cross found Olisema; the latter wasted no time in slamming the ball past the Pirates’ goal to send his club to the next round.

Wednesday’s win ensured that coach Fatai Osho’s charges finished top of the group with three wins and three losses.

[READ ALSO] Champions League: Man City Fight Back To Beat PSG In Semi-Final First Leg

Pirates had beaten Enyimba 2-1 in the reverse fixture of the encounter. Despite the loss in Nigeria, the South African club side made it to the quarters alongside Enyimba.

 

The Nigerian team lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture of the encounter against the Pirates (Photo: Twitter @Orlando Pirates FC)

 

JS Kabylie; Jaraaf. CS Sfaxien, Cotonsport, Pyramids, and Raja Casablanca are the other teams that qualified for the quarter-finals of the tournament.

The draw for the next round of Africa’s second-tier club competition will be held on Friday, April 30th in Egypt.

An ‘Ultimate Aim’

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State had described Enyimba’s win as a testament to the indefatigable spirit of the club, thanking fans and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for their support.

“The massive support the team received from her fans across the globe & particularly from the NFF under the able leadership of  Pinnick Amaju should serve as tonic for greater commitment & hard work,” the governor tweeted on his official handle on Thursday morning.

“I’m personally thrilled by the fact that matches can now be played at the Enyimba International Stadium by 10pm with floodlights on an ultra mordern turf, complimented by a digital score board all of which were provided by our administration & which also attracted accolades from the match commentators!

“Good Thinking, Good Product! Congrats Enyimba! Let’s keep the flag flying until we achieve our ultimate aim!”

CAF Confed Cup: Enyimba Beat Setif To Record Second Win

Enyimba’s captain, Austin Oladapo, and his teammates celebrate one of their goals against Algeria’s Entente Setif in the Group A match of the CAF Confederation Cup in Aba, Abia State on April 4, 2021. Photo: Twitter- @CAFCLCC

 

Enyimba’s captain, Austin Oladapo, and striker, Tosin Omoyele, scored a goal each to give the Nigerian side a 2-1 victory over Algeria’s Entente Setif on matchday 3 of the CAF Confederation Cup in Aba, a town in Abia State.

Monsef Bakrar shot the visitors into the lead in the 13th minute after poor communication between Enyimba’s defenders.

Three minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty after Omoyele was brought down in the area.

Oladapo stepped up to it but goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia produced a fine safe to stop him and kept Setif’s lead.

Just before the break, Oladapo made amends for his miss after Omoyele gave a short pass to Dayo Ojo who laid it a sweet one for the incoming captain (Oladapo) who unleashed a shot with his left foot to beat goalkeeper Khedairia.

That goal calmed the nerves of coach Fatai Osho and his technical crew as they went into the break with a levelled score-line.

The starting 11 players of Enyimba FC are listed in this piece. Photo: [email protected]

 

When action resumed in the second half, Enyimba took control of the game with Anayo Iwuala producing productive runs that cracked the walls of Setif’s defence.

In the 60th minute, it was the same Iwuala who dazzled, confused the visitors’ defenders and placed a fine pass to Omoyele to score the second goal for the People’s Elephant.

With the victory, Enyimba have regained leadership of the Group A table with six points, pending the outcome of the match between Ahli Benghazi and Orlando Pirates scheduled to hold later on Sunday night.

The champions of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will play Setif again in a matchday 4 fixture on Sunday next week.

NPFL 21: Enyimba Extend Sunshine Stars’ Winless Run

A file photo of Eyimba FC players on a football pitch.

 

Enyimba Football Club of Aba made a winning return to the Nigeria Professional Football League with a 1-0 victory over Sunshine Stars of Akure on Monday at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.

The matchday 17 fixture was played in Lagos following an order by the League Management Company that Sunshine Stars will play their next two matches out of Akure for breaching security rules and misconduct on matchday 15 against Nasarawa United.

With four more outstanding matches to play, Enyimba look good to compete for the league after Monday’s win shot them to fifth on the log with 27 points – just three points separate them and league leaders, Kwara United.

Samson Obi’s second-half goal made the difference.

The defeat for Sunshine Stars means the Akure Gunners have played 10 matches without a win.

The last time coach Gbenga Ogunbote’s team won a league match was a 3-1 victory against Rangers on matchday 7 in Akure, Ondo State.

In Enugu, Rangers maintained their relevance at the top of the table with a 2-0 win over Nasarawa United.

The Flying Antelopes occupy the second position but are tied on 30 points with Kwara United.

Two quickfire goals in the first half did the job for coach Salisu Yusuf’s team as Godspower Aniefiok’s header gave the home team the lead just two minutes into the match before Chinonso Eziekwe maintained his fine form with another goal six minutes later.

In Uyo, Dakkada FC edged Plateau United 1-0 after Isaac George’s goal in the 28th minute secured maximum points for– their eighth win of the season and shot the Chosen Ones to eighth on the log.

With Monday’s results, matchday 17 has produced 26 goals, the highest so far this season.

Kwara United’s five-star performance against Adamawa United was a major contributor and The Harmony Boys spanked their opponent 5-0 with Stephen Jude scoring the first hat-trick of the season.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 17 Results

Monday

Sunshine Stars 0 Enyimba 1

Rangers 2 Nasarawa United 0

Dakkada FC 1 Plateau United 0

Sunday

Kwara United 5 Adamawa United 0

Lobi Stars 4 Rivers United 1

Abia Warriors 3 Katsina United 1

Wikki Tourists 1 Kano Pillars 2

MFM FC 1 Akwa United 2

Heartland FC 1 Warri Wolves 1

NNL: Shooting Stars, Ibom Youth Record First Away Wins

 

Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) FC of Ibadan and Ibom Youth FC of Uyo have recorded the first away victories in 2020/2021 Nigeria National League season

In a Southern conference group B2 week 2 encounter, Ibom Youth edged Godosky of Anambra 1-0. Striker, Daniel Ekpo scored in the 17minute of the match played at Neros Stadium, Nanka, Anambra State.

Ibom Youth played 1-1 against FC One Rocket in their first game of the campaign in Ikot Ekpene

In group B1, Shooting Stars pipped Giant Brillars FC 1-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu. Opeoluwa Olufemi’s goal made the difference and also ensured 3SC seal a second victory to maintain leadership of the group.

In another group B1 encounter, Vandrezzer FC beat Nilayo FC 1-0 at the Agege Stadium, Lagos to record their first win of the season.

 2020/2021 NIGERIA NATIONAL LEAGUE

Matchday 2 Results

Friday

 Group A2

Zamfara United 2 Kebbi United 0

 Saturday

Northern Conference A1

Gombe United 1 Sokoto United 0

Green Berets FC 1 Rarara FC 0

Mighty Jets 2 Oyah Sports Int’l FC 0

FC Taraba 1 NAF FC 0

Southern Conference B1

Osun United 1 Nnewi United 1

Vandrezzer FC 1 Nilayo FC 0

Calabar Rovers FC 3 Dynamite Force FC 0

Giant Brillars FC,Enugu 0 Shooting Stars 1

Go-Round FC 2 Stationery Stores 1

 Group B2

Gateway United 1 Crown FC 0

Bendel Insurance FC 2-1 Joy Cometh FC of Lagos,venue – Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin.

Godosky FC 0 Ibom Youth 1 FC

G&H Shekarau FC 1 Yobe Desert Stars 1

Kogi Utd FC 0 Malumfashi FC 0

ABS FC,Ilorin 2 DMD FC 0

Niger Tornadoes 2 Road Safety FC 0

Sunday Fixtures

Abia Comets vs Apex Crane

El-Kanemi Warriors vs EFCC FC, Abuja

Ekiti United vs Delta Force

Bayelsa United vs Remo Stars

CAFCC: Enyimba Earn Crucial 1-0 Victory Over Rivers United

 

 

Enyimba Football Club showed their determination to remain in the CAF Confederation after a hard-fought 1-0 over Rivers United in the first leg of the play-off round of the competition.

The match which took place at the Enyimba International Stadium suffered some challenges due to bad weather conditions; in the 9th minute, the game was suspended and later resumed after the rainfall reduced.

The first half was drab with both sides creating no clear chance at goal because of the water-logged pitch. The movement of the ball was slow and the players struggled to make passes, connect and make timely runs.

When play resumed in the second half, the pith condition improved and the real contest began and it didn’t take long before the hosts scored the decisive goal.

It happened in the 59th minute when the hardworking Anayo Iwuala dazzled his way to Rivers United danger zone and located Cyril Olisema who produced a calm finish to give Enyimba the lead.

Rivers United defenders judged Olisema to be offside but they were wrong. They contested the decision with the centre referee but he insists it was a good goal.

The visitors had enough time to go in search for an equaliser but did not create enough to pressurize the People’s Elephant. Instead, it was the home side who got close to doubling their leading with captain, Austin Oladapo releasing shots at goal that forced goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai to produce brilliant saves.

In the 75th minute, Tosin Omoyele was shown a red card for what the referee interpreted as retaliation but Rivers United did not take advantage of the man advantage and Enyimba held on to seal victory.

The defeat also means Stanley Eguma’s team will miss out on the 20 million naira offer made by Governor Nyesom Wike as a winning bonus if they beat Enyimba in Aba.

Enyimba will take the advantage into the second leg contest which will be played on Sunday, 21 February at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.

NPFL 21: Omoyele’s Brace Sinks Plateau United As Enyimba Consolidate Top Position

Enyimba's Tosin Omoyele scores opening goal in a 2-1 win over Plateau United on February 6, 2021.
Enyimba’s Tosin Omoyele scores the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Plateau United on February 6, 2021.

 

Enyimba Football Club of Aba have beaten Plateau United 2-1 to consolidate their status as leaders of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

The game between a current and former league champion, kicked off matchday 9 proceedings at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba.

Plateau United manager, Abdul Maikaba tweaked his team a bit, giving a starting role to former Shooting Stars forward, Wasiu Jimoh and kept team captain, Amos Gyang on the bench.

READ ALSO: Watkins’ Early Strike Enough For Villa As Arsenal Lose Again

On the other hand, Enyimba’s manager, Fatai Osho gave Tosin Omoyele a starting role to display his quality against his former club and the striker repaid his coach for believing in him.

With two quick-fire goals, Omoyele damaged Plateau United.

Omoyele and Anayo Iwuala combined well in executing the attack of the People’s Elephant and it didn’t take long before Omoyele gave the home side the lead. Iwuala delivered a super corner kick, Omoyele timed his run perfectly to produce a beautiful header.

Three minutes later, Iwuala capitalised on a defensive error, fought to keep the ball while on the ground and managed to pass to Omoyele who released a ferocious shot to double Enyimba’s lead and secure his 4th goal of the season.

The People’s Elephant took the 2-0 lead into the break.

When second half commenced, the home team picked up where they stopped. They mounted pressure on the visitors looking for the third goal to seal the contest. Iwuala came so close to scoring in the 60th minute when captain, Austin Oladapo sent a pass to Sadiq Abubabar who located the hardworking Iwuala, he released a decent shot but his effort came off the base of the goal post.

In the 76th minute, substitute Moses Effiong pulled one back for Plateau United. Isah Ndala sent in a free kick into Enyimba’s danger area for the former Dakkada FC player to connect with a header.

The Peace Boys pushed harder to get the equaliser but Enyimba’s defence stood firm to defend the lead and sealed victory to consolidate their position on the league table with 21 points. The result also means Enyimba are yet to score a second half goal in the 8 matches this season.

Matchday 9 action will return tomorrow in the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Matchday 9 Fixtures (SUNDAY)

Rangers Int’l FC vs Warri Wolves

Dakkada FC vs Abia Warriors

Sunshine Stars vs Kwara United

Akwa United vs Katsina United

MFM vs Heartland

Jigawa Golden Stars vs Adamawa United

Lobi Stars vs Wikki Tourists

MONDAY

Rivers United vs Nasarawa United

FC Ifeanyi Ubah vs Kano Pillars

Enyimba Prepare For CAF Champions League Damage Repair Mission

Enyimba’s Sadiq Abubakar shields the ball from Abia Warriors Adekunle Adeleke.

 

Enyimba of Nigeria will try Wednesday to repair the damage inflicted by Seifeldin Malik, whose hat-trick propelled Al Merrikh of Sudan to a 3-0 CAF Champions League last 32 first leg victory.

It is the second time the club from southeastern city Aba have faced such a deficit in the elite African competition, and are hoping for a more successful outcome.

Enyimba suffered a 4-1 loss away to ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast in a 2002 qualifier and a 3-1 home victory was insufficient to avoid elimination.

Here, AFP Sport puts the spotlight on five intriguing return matches as clubs seek overall victories, group places, and a minimum payout of $550,000 (450,000 euros).

Enyimba v MerrikhGhana-born Enyimba midfielder Farouk Mohammed has not given up hope of a spectacular second leg comeback that would require his team to score at least three times to have any chance of survival.

“The heavy loss we suffered in Sudan comes once in a while. Even the strongest clubs sometimes suffer such defeats. Now, so much depends on how we react to it,” he said.

A 3-0 victory for Enyimba after 90 minutes would take the tie straight to a penalty shootout, but if Merrikh score just once in Nigeria, the hosts will need five goals to survive.

Wydad v MalienStade Malien of Mali take a tenuous 1-0 lead to Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, who have won the Champions League, finished runners-up, and been semi-finalists twice in the past five seasons.

The Bamako outfit were the last west African club to win a CAF competition, defeating Entente Setif of Algeria on penalties in the 2009 CAF Confederation Cup final.

But Stade have fared poorly in the Champions League, never reaching the group stage, and will rely heavily on star forward Mamadou Coulibaly if they are to shock Wydad.

Primeiro v ChiefsFamed South African club Kaizer Chiefs have won only three of 14 matches this season in all competitions, and one of those successes was away to PWD Bamenda in the Champions League preliminary round.

That result will offer some hope to coach Gavin Hunt and his underperforming team, which includes Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, Kenya midfielder Anthony Akumu and Zimbabwe forward Khama Billiat.

Primeiro Agosto of Angola, who forced a 0-0 draw in Soweto last month, have been inconsistent Champions League participants, reaching the 2018 semi-finals, but falling at the first hurdle the following year.

Simba v PlatinumSimba of Tanzania caused the biggest shock of the preliminary round by ousting Plateau United of Nigeria thanks to a first-leg goal from Zambian Clatous Chama in west Africa.

One round later and the situation is reversed as they must overcome a 1-0 deficit when they host Platinum of Zimbabwe in Dar es Salaam, where spectators will be permitted despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Platinum have reached the group stage in the last two seasons and will be encouraged by the form of Perfect Chikwende, the first leg match-winner.

Sfaxien v MouloudiaA seven-minute Samy Frioui brace has tilted this north African showdown in favour of Mouloudia Alger of Algeria as they take a 2-0 lead to CS Sfaxien of Tunisia.

Frioui has scored three goals in Africa this season, one less than Firas Chaouat, whose total includes a hat-trick away to Mlandege of Zanzibar in the previous round.

Both clubs have experienced African success with Mouloudia winning the 1976 African Cup of Champions Clubs (forerunner to the Champions League) and Sfaxien lifting the Confederation Cup three times and the CAF Cup once.

Enyimba Fall To Sudanese Club In CAF Champions League

Enyimba Book CAF Confederation Cup Quarter-Final Spot With Dramatic Win
A logo of Enyimba Football Club.

 

A Saifeldin Bakhit hat-trick earned Al Merrikh of Sudan a 3-0 midweek victory over Enyimba of Nigeria in the biggest upset of the CAF Champions League last 32 first legs.

While Sudanese clubs are often formidable at home in sauna-like conditions, even the most partisan supporters of the club could not have envisioned such a wide winning margin.

History offers Enyimba a glimmer of hope, though, as Simba of Tanzania lost by four goals at home to Mufulira Wanderers of Zambia in 1979 only to win the return match by five goals.

Here, AFP Sport looks at five talking points from the 13 first legs.

Merrikh turnaround

Sudanese international Bakhit struck early and late in the opening half and completed his treble in the final minute of regulation time in Omdurman.

The triumph was a welcome change of Champions League fortunes for Merrikh, who made preliminary round exits in the last three editions.

They are the only Sudanese club to win a CAF competition, edging Bendel United of Nigeria 1-0 on aggregate in the 1989 African Cup Winners Cup final.

Dramatic fightback

Former champions V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo staged the most dramatic comeback of the round, scoring twice in the final four minutes to draw 2-2 at Young Buffaloes of eSwatini.

Buffaloes look set for a shock victory in Manzini thanks to goals from Phiwayinkhosi Dlamini and Bongwa Matsebula just before and after half-time.

Fiston Mayele halved the deficit with four minutes remaining and Ricky Tulengi levelled off a penalty one minute from time for the Kinshasa club that conquered Africa in 1973.

Nkana preserve record

Zambian club Nkana stretched an unbeaten run in CAF competitions to 63 matches since debuting 37 years ago when they drew 1-1 with Angolan visitors Petro Atletico in Kitwe.

The clubs also drew when they met in Zambia in 1987, and Nkana defied the odds by winning the return match in Luanda.

Nkana looked set to build a narrow first leg lead after Harrison Chisela scored, but a last-minute equaliser from Yano, the nickname of Adriano Belmiro Duarte Nicolau, dashed their hopes.

Perfect finish

An early goal from Perfect Chikwende gave Platinum of Zimbabwe a 1-0 win over Simba of Tanzania in Harare and set up an intriguing return match early next month.

Simba are guided by Belgian Sven Vandenbroeck, who was the assistant coach of Cameroon when they pulled of a surprise 2017 Africa Cup of Nations triumph.

The Dar es Salaam outfit caused the shock of the preliminary round by eliminating Plateau United of Nigeria, whose coach had set his sights on at least a semi-finals place.

Champions win

Defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt launched their challenge for a record-extending 10th title with a 1-0 away victory over modest AS Sonidep of Niger in Niamey.

Malian Aliou Dieng scored the only goal  for the Cairo Red Devils, who defeated fellow Egyptians and fierce rivals Zamalek 2-1 last month in the 2020 final.

South Africa-born Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane did not travel to west Africa as he is recovering from coronavirus in Cairo.

 

AFP