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Enyimba, Rivers United restore Nigeria’s pride

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Enyimba will meet Sudan’s Al Merreikh in the last qualifying round of the CAF Champions League

• Plateau United, Kano Pillars fall
Enyimba of Aba and Rivers United yesterday restored some pride in Nigerian club football when they advanced to the final qualifying rounds of the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup respectively.

Nigeria entered four teams in CAF competitions this season, but Plateau United (Champions League) and Kano Pillars (Confederation Cup) were eliminated from the contests on Saturday.

Playing at the Aba Township Stadium, Enyimba went into the second leg of their Champions League tie against Rahimo FC of Burkina Faso with a one goal advantage courtesy of their away win in Ouagadougou.

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The Peoples Elephant could only draw 1-1 with the visitors, but it was enough to see them through on 2-1 aggregate.
Austin Oladapo gave Enyimba the lead with a long range effort in the 60th minute, but Rahimo’s Ware made for a frantic ending to the game when he equalized for the visitors in the 75th minute.

But Enyimba, who were reduced to 10 men in the 94th minute, held on for the win that pits them against Al Merrikh of Sudan.

The winner of the game will qualify for the league phase of the competition, while the loser will drop to the Confederation Cup.

In Port Harcourt, Rivers United defeated Futuro Kings of Equatorial Guinea 2-1 to even the tie, and went ahead to edge the ensuing penalty shoot out 2-0.
For their efforts, Rivers United will meet South Africa’s Bloemfontein Celtics in the last qualifying round of the Confederation Cup. The winner will move to the play-off round, while the loser will exit the competition.

On Saturday, Nigerian champions, Plateau United, and Kano Pillars were eliminated from the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup respectively.

Plateau were eliminated after their goalless draw in Tanzania against Simba SC. They had lost the first leg of the tie 1-0 at the New Jos Stadium, Jos.

Pillars also played 0-0 against Senegalese side ASC Jaraaf at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna to bow out of the competition. They were beaten 3-1 last Saturday in Dakar in the first fixture.

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