By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Nigeria’s lone team in continental campaign this season, Enyimba FC of Aba, moved a step closer to reaching the semi finals of the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup when the People’s Elephant yesterday secured a crucial goalless draw with Rayon Sports in Kigali, Rwanda.
Enyimba defied the total home support for Rayon Sports at the Stade Nyamirambo in the Rwandan capital city to put one foot in the semis.
Victory for Enyimba at the newly refurbished Aba Stadium on Sunday, September 23, will put the Abia State owned team close to also becoming the first Nigerian team to win the CAF Confederation Cup just the same way it ended the Champions league jinx.
In Rwanda, goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai, who continues to bench Super Eagles star Ikechukwu Ezenwa, was outstanding for the People’s Elephant.
Reports from Rwanda confirmed that the former Kano Pillars ‘keeper pulled off a big save after just 20 minutes of play to deny Gikundiro of scoring the game’s opening goal.
He was again at his best in the 73rd and 75thminutes to deny Rayon Sports the edge they sought going into Sunday’s reverse fixture in Aba.
Of course, Enyimba also had their chances to get on the scoreboard but both striker Mustapha Ibrahim and winger Wasiu Alalade threw away good chances. It was Alalade who pulled Enyimba into the quarter final with his crucial goal against CARA Brazzaville in the Group’s last game in Aba.
Enyimba took control of the game in the second half and were let down again by their profligacy in front of goal.
The duo of Ibrahim Mustapha and Sunday Adetunji wasted clear-cut chances in the 48th and 60th minutes respectively.
In another quarter- final game, Raja Casablanca defeated their hosts, CARA Brazzaville 2-1.
The overall winners of both games will come face-to-face in the semi-finals of Africa’s second-tier club competition.