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‘Unlucky’ Enyimba beat Smouha 1-0




THE elements were just not on Enyimba’s side yesterday at the Aba Township Stadium, but the ‘Peoples Elephant’ still managed a 1-0 defeat of Egypt’s Smouha in the first leg of their CAF Champions League tie yesterday.

Enyimba hit the bar twice, missed open chances and had Smouha goalkeeper, Mahdy Soluman, in superb form. Yet the Aba side will go into the second leg still hopeful of qualification going by their performance yesterday.

From the onset, Smouha made their intention of playing for a draw obvious. The Egyptian team came with a plan to pick a draw, with their players not ready to take any chances on the ball.

It looked like the gods had ordained the match to end in a goalless draw when what should have been Enyimba’s first goal through Daniel Etor in the 20th minute came off the cross bar. But Enyimba were patient in their offence, with the Kingsley Sokari-led midfield dictating play for a major part of the game. That patience paid off in the 55th minute when substitute Raphael Boumsong headed in the winning goal off Nonso Okonkwo’s cross.

Before the goal, the Egyptians had a golden chance to silence the Aba crowd a minute to half time, but Amr Elmen, who beat skipper Chinedu Udoji, failed to hit the target.

The return leg comes up in Egypt in a fortnight with the winner on aggregate qualifying for the last qualifying round of the CAF Champions League.

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