Enyimba’s defeat throws CAF Cup group open
• Coach Osho Laments Over Red Card
Nigeria’s only surviving club in CAF competitions this year, Enyimba of Aba, suffered a fifth straight away loss this season when they lost 1-0 to Al Ahly Benghazi in Libya on Thursday night. The defeat has throw Group A of the CAF Confederation Cup wide open.
South Africa’s Orlando Pirates top the table on nine points with one matchday to come, Benghazi have seven, Enyimba six and Entente Setif five. All four clubs have a chance of progressing.
Enyimba left Lagos on a chattered flight for the match after some hitches in their travelling plans, including visa complications. The match was delayed 24 hours.
The People’s Elephants, as Enyimba is called, fell to Muttasem el Taib strike to gift Al Ahly Benghazi the three points at stake at the Martyrs of February Stadium in the eastern Libyan city. El Taib’s goal, his first in the African campaign, came in the 40 minutes. It was enough to lift Benghazi from the last spot to second on the table.
The top two finishers qualify for the quarterfinals draw on April 30 in Cairo, where group winners and runners-up will be separated.
Benghazi will visit Setif in the final round and a win will enable them to become the third Libyan club after Al Ittihad and Al Nasr to reach the knockout stages in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.
As Enyimba sought an equaliser, they suffered a huge blow on 74 minutes when centreback Timothy Danladi was red-carded.
Benghazi had four players yellow carded and Enyimba three in a fiery clash that produced 47 fouls. Enyimba will host South Africa’s Orlando Pirates on April 28 in a match they must win to progress.
The defeat on Thursday night notwithstanding, Coach Fatai Osho says he was impressed. Osho speaking in a chat gathered by brila.net after the clash attributed the inability of the People’s Elephants to rescue the game on ill-luck and the unfortunate red card handed to Timothy Danladi which made the task tougher for the team after conceding towards the end of the first half.
The other three groups have been decided with JS Kabylie of Algeria, Coton Sport of Cameroon, Jaraaf of Senegal, CS Sfaxien of Tunisia, Raja Casablanca of Morocco and Pyramids of Egypt qualifying.