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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Enyimba’s Champions League dreams collapse

… Lose N253m for failing to qualify for next round

… Saif’s early goal unsettled us – Osho

Two-time Champions League winner, Enyimba International have failed to redeem their image in African football following their failure to overturn a 3-0 deficit suffered at Al-Merrikh Stadium in Omdurman.

The Aba Warriors needed to score four unreplied goals could only manage a 2-1 win at home to crash out of the CAF Champions League 4-2 on aggregate.

This failure has cost the eight-time Nigerian league champions a handsome payoff of $550,000 (about 253 million Naira) and have now been demoted to the CAF Confederation Cup playoff round.

Saif Terry, who fired a hat-trick in the first game in Sudan, opened scoring in Aba after just seven minutes when he punished slack defending by the home team.

The goal made the task for the People’s Elephant more difficult as they then needed five more goals to qualify.

Star striker, Victor Mbaoma, who missed the game in Sudan due to injury, levelled proceedings with a simple tap in six minutes later to raise hopes of qualifying.

Four minutes into the second half, Enyimba took the lead for the first time in the encounter from the penalty spot, Mbaoma slotting home after Kadiri had been tripped in the box.

Mbaoma’s second goal further raised the hopes of the Nigerian side to stage a comeback and win the tie but for the resolute defending of the Sudanese

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s other club side in the Confederation Cup Rivers United await further communication from CAF about the rescheduling of their second leg, first leg tie with Bloemfontein Celtic.

The tie which was scheduled for yesterday in Port Harcourt was called off after Nigerian health authorities, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) declined to issue the South Africans with waivers from Covid-19 protocols.

Rivers United lead 2-0 from the first leg and will progress to the next stage if they avoid defeat.

In the same vein, Enyimba coach, Fatai Osho lamented that his players struggled to contain Terry who netted hat-tirck against them in the first leg.

“It’s quite clear that the early unsettled us, looking at the first leg, their number 9 ( saif Terry) did a lot of work and we worked a lot on how we can curtail him but it’s disappointing but I don’t like blaming the players after defeat, I believe we could have done better.

“Because of the goal we conceded, it affected our style of play and there is no time to play the way we wanted to play. We knew that we might win but not qualify and we make it clear to them, we won and we are out.

“We recognised that Terry has power and we worked to silent him, we were able to do that after he scored the goal, unfortunately, god of soccer was not with us today.

“We created chances but their goalkeeper was there and he deserved commendation,” he said.


I'm an avid and seasoned sports/ multimedia journalist. I have a biased love for Real Madrid and passionate advocate for the overall growth of the Nigeria Sports Project. I can be reached on 09077894123 or/and '[email protected]'

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