Enyimba FC managed a 2-1 home win over stubborn Entente Setif Sportive Club of Algeria in the Matchday three of the Group A tie of the CAF Confederation Cup played yesterday in Aba.
The People’s Elephant needed a win to boost their qualification chances after their Matchday Two last-minute collapse against Orlando Pirates.
The home team started disappointedly and could have been three goals down before halftime had the visitors converted some of the chances they created. The Algerians deservedly took the lead in the 13th minute after Enyimba’s defence switched off to allow Monsef Bakrar to have an easy tap in off Akram Djahnit’s defense-splitting pass.
Enyimba suddenly came alive after they went a goal down and they were rewarded with a penalty kick in the 17th minute after Dayo Ojo was hacked down in Entente Setif’s vital area.
Dependable midfielder and skipper of the side, Austin Oladapo stepped out to take the spot kick but the Algerian goalkeeper, Abdelouaheb Khedairia guessed his spot-kick correctly and pushed out his shot aimed at the top right corner of the goaltender.
Enyimba never relented despite the penalty miss and after more calamitous misses from the away team, Fatai Osho’s inspired side equalised in the 40th minute through Oladapo who atoned for his earlier penalty kick miss with a thumping finish off a fine assist from Dayo Ojo.
At the inception of the second half, Enyimba half time pep talk did wonders as the team played with more urgency and fluidity. They went ahead in the game for the first time in the 60th with a touch of class and ingenuity from Super Eagles’ Anayo Iwuala. He had initially missed a wonderful chance to put his team in the ascendancy moments before the goal. He did not retreat. He bulldozed his way into the Entente’s vital area and gave a fine pass to Tosin Omoyele who showed composure to stay onside and fire past goalkeeper, Khedairia.
Entente started threatening thereafter but they were either rebuffed by desperate Enyimba defenders or goalkeeper John Noble came to their rescue. The Eagles’ reserved goalkeeper made some decent saves to keep the People’s Elephant in the game.
With the slim home win, Enyimba moved to six points from three games and will hit Constantine next for a date with the same foes, Entente Setif in the reverse fixture billed for this weekend.