Skipper Austin Oladapo opened scoring for Enyimba in their 2-1 defeat of Al Ahli Benghazi of Libya
Skipper Austin Oladapo’s wonder goal in the ninth minute set the stage for Enyimba’s first three points in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup yesterday.
Playing at the Aba Township Stadium against Al Ahli of Libya, the Peoples Elephant needed a win in their first game of the group stage to set the tone for an eventual semifinal ticket. And they did with aplomb, even if they had to work extra hard to starve off the gusty North Africans.
Enyimba overcame another Nigerian team, Rivers United, to qualify for the group stage of the competition and they were condemned to justify that victory with a credible performance in the last 16 contest.
The Aba side went into the game looking for early goals, which they got in the ninth minute through Captain Austin Oladapo, whose left-foot long-range effort off a corner kick left the Libyan goalkeeper clutching straws.
Following the goal, the now emboldened Enyimba swooped on their opponents for more, but the visitors resorted to crazy defensive tactics to remain in the game.
Although the Aba side controlled the early part of the game, they couldn’t create clear-cut chances and looked open without the ball, despite Fatai Osho’s three-person defence set up.
And then the Libyans sent jitters down the Aba side’s supporters in the 18th minute, clearly against they run of play.
A rare attacking move from the visitors forced an Enyimba defender to commit a foul, which the referee ruled as a penalty. Al Ahli Benghazi’s Abd’Allah Imhamed scored from the spot to make matters 1-1.
The setback lasted for 30 minutes before Victor Mbaoma restored Enyimba’s lead with a superb strike.
With three points in the kitty, Enyimba will now travel to South Africa for a date with Orlando Pirates on matchday two. They will then return home to host Algerian side ES Setif in their third game of Group A.