A well taken brace by forward, Edward Sadomba gave Sudanese champions, Al Hilal a valuable point against Enyimba FC of Nigeria in a thrilling group A CAF Champions’ League contest in Aba on Sunday.
Playing on a heavy pitch, it was the home side that settled in the quicker with Kalu Uche, Josiah Maduabuchi and Eneki Otekpa controlling the play with good passing and incisive movement.
Top scorer, Victor Barnabas twice threatened to add to his fourteen goals this season as two well-taken strikes were beaten out by the impressive Abdel Ibrahim in goal for the visitors.
With Enyimba mounting relentless pressure on Al Hilal, a lapse in concentration allowed the Sudanese to break forward following another missed chance from the home side.
Sadomba, who had looked dangerous up till that point embarked on a mazy 40 yard run that took him past defenders, Ekene Iwuorie and Nnaemeka Anyawu. The forward then produced an outrageous strike from the edge of the area that sent Enyimba keeper, Chijioke Ejiogu the wrong way, giving his side a shock lead in the 23rd minute.
Enyimba then embarked on a bout of attacking forays that was repelled by spirited Hilal defending. The home side went in at the break chasing the game and knowing that they had to produce special in the second period to claw their way back into the contest against the well drilled Sudanese.
The People’s Elephants started the second half like a house on fire, peppering the Hilal defence ceaselessly and putting the visitors on the back foot. It was therefore no surprise when they got the equalizer, three minutes after the restart through Valentine Nwabili whose speculative effort from distance went in after the hitherto impressive Ibrahim.
Enyimba sought to exploit their psychological advantage and were soon in front: Kalu Uche heading in spectacularly off Peter Onoja’s teasing cross on the hour. Uche had the chance to grab his second and put the game to bed in the 76th minute but he blasted his shot from an acute angle into the side netting after rounding the keeper.
Buoyed by the miss by Kalu, Hilal went forward in search of the equalizer and astonishingly found it through the ever lively Sadomba on 77 minutes. Sadomba might have gotten the goal but credit had to go to the substitute, Hamen Khalifa who dribbled his way into the Enyimba penalty area before producing a precise low cross that Sadomba side footed home, in off the post to throw the visiting fans into joyous mood.
“Enyimba is a quality side and we cannot celebrate yet because the group is still tight after the other game in the group ended in a goalless draw,” Coach of Hilal Milutin Sredrojevic told SuperSport.com. Enyimba’s Okey Emordi shared Sredrojevic’s sentiments.
In the other game in Group A, Raja Casablanca and Cotton Sport played out a 0-0 draw. “It is not a bad result even though we would have preferred to get a win. We made several mistakes but it is all part of the game,” he said. Enyimba now travel to Cameroon to face Coton Sport Garoua while Al Hilal play host to Raja Casablanca in the second round of matches in a competitive Group A. Both games will be played on the weekend of July 29-31.