Two-time African Champions, Enyimba FC of Aba began their quest for continental glory last night with a frustrating goalless outing against visiting Al-Hilal of Sudan in the second round qualifying game of the CAF Champions League.
The pulsating encounter at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba was not without some drama after the referee red carded Hilal’s Nazar Hamid in the 21st minute following elbowing of Enyimba’s Daniel Darkwah.
However, despite the advantage of having a player over the visitors, Enyimba still found it difficult to breakdown the defence of the Sudanese team.
The gaffer of the Aba People’s Elephant, Usman Abdallah, in a post match interview said the match is still open for his lads to reach the next stage of the competition.
Although Abdallah lamented the missed opportunities by his players, he however promised that the job of qualifying for the next round was still within the reach Enyimba.
“This match is just the first half to the final part and it is most unfortunate that we did not convert the chances that came our way but next week I hope my lads will turn up with a big surprise.
“Although many of you (sports journalists) would think that the one man advantage should have turned out to be goals for my team but football five years ago is not same thing today.
“You have to understand the dynamics of the game because the opposing team will change tactics,” he noted.
The coach also believes his wards still have all to play for in the return leg will come up in Sudan in 10 days time.
“We still have all to play for in the return match. It is not yet over for Enyimba,” boasts the coach.
The winner of the return leg will qualify into the money spinning group stage of the competition.
Earlier on Saturday in the second tier continental competition, the CAF Confederation Cup, it was a bad day in office for Nigeria’s representative Enugu Rangers as they began their campaign on a losing note.
The Nigeria side who took the lead early in the first stanza through Nnamdi Egbujour lost the lead when the home side rallied back almost immediately with two quick two goals to secure a 2-1 win.
The Flying Antelopes were drawn bye in the last round after playing up to the group stage last season in the same competition.
Rangers will host the second leg at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu on 29th of September.
Winner of the two legs will also proceed to the group stage of the tournament.