Good morning Guys.
Yet again, Paul Aigbogun has led his Enyimba side into the Group Stages of the CAF Confederations Cup. Our South African opponents Bidvest Wits aka the Clever Boys came to Calabar and were looking to snatch a ticket into the money-spinning Group Stage, our boys held firm. 0-0 it ended at the UJ Esuene, making it a 1-1 aggregate result.
First of all, on the grand scheme of things, this was job well and truly done. Especially when you consider the fact that of all Nigeria’s Continental representatives, we are now the only remaining survivors. Akwa United won 3-1 but fell short on away goals rule. MFM after losing 1-0 at home, were only able to hold their opponents to a goalless draw and Plateau United were of course, pummeled. I hope to talk about Plateau United someday soon.
By way of personnel, it was an injury-inspired lineup. Nelson Ogbonnaya sat out the encounter as Ifeanyi Anaemena partnered Isiaka Oladuntoye. Up top, we were missing striker Ibrahim Mustapha scorer of the away goal in South Africa. Ibenegbu and Oladapo played in midfield while Farouk completed the trio. In goal, it was Dauda while Ikouwem and Andrew played at fullback.
Coming into the game with some form of an advantage, the bigger question was how to manage the game to ensure you don’t hand your opponents some away goal advantage. If we let them score, we would need to score twice or be hopeful via penalties to go through. An away goal always meant trouble and with how they attacked, we knew we were in danger of letting one in.
But we didn’t. We eventually held on till the closing seconds of the game when we got awarded a penalty. Substitute Freedom Omofoman had been fouled in the area. Austin Oladpo stepped up but forced a save from Josephs in the Bidvest goal. Anaemena followed with the rebound but could only hit the side netting. Thankfully it wasn’t costly – our away goal was enough to see us over the line.
Afterwards the gaffer said,
“We glory to God and secondly, they are a good team. If you look at the game there 1-1 look at the game here 0-0. I mean they are Champions of South Africa so we knew it was going to be good too”.
On misfiring strikers…
“Obviously we want them to score more but we will work on that but first of all we will have to enjoy today first”.
Nothing short of a job well done. The team did just enough to make it into the next round where surely tougher challenges lie but like the gaffer said, we have to enjoy this.
Well done Enyimba.