Nigerian giants Enyimba maintained their reputation as a team that always performs better in front of its home fans with a dazzling 2-1 victory over Algerian champions ES Sétif on Sunday. The Aba Warriors move into first place in Group A of the CAF Confederation Cup on six points with Orlando Pirates and Al Ahly Benghazi close behind as Sétif continue their surprising struggles on one point in last place. In the group’s later match the first CAF club match in over ten years took place in Libya but Al Ahly Benghazi could not deliver a win against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in their 0-0 draw.
The action was end-to-end and went on for long stretches in Nigeria, providing a thrilling encounter with plenty at stake for both Enyimba and Sétif. The visitors from Algeria got off to an excellent start in the 13th minute by taking advantage of Enyimba leaving too many players forward. An excellent chipped through ball from rising young striker Mohamed Amoura sent in Ahmed Kendouci, who slipped a pass to the side as the goalkeeper rushed out for Monsef Bakrar to slide into an empty net.
Enyimba star midfielder Austin Oladapo had an up-and-down first-half, having his penalty kick saved in the 17th minute. However, he also delivered one of his trademark bombs from long range in the 40th minute when he connected first-time with Dayo Ojo’s pass outside of the penalty box. The Nigerian club continued to relentlessly raid into the Sétif third as the Algerians became more and more ineffective in attack. Enyimba’s winner came in the 60th minute courtesy of Tosin Omoyele when some excellent dribbling following a blocked free-kick by recent Nigeria national team debutant Iwuala Anayo opened up a lane for him to slip a pass to Omoyele to finish.
A weakened Orlando Pirates side did well to go up to Libya and come out with a point, turning in a solid defensive performance. Despite struggling with a stomach illness, captain Thulani Hlatshwayo anchored the Buccaneers’ back line as neither team could obtain a clear sight of each other’s goal. The match was notable for being the first CAF club match played in the country in over a decade due to the civil war following the national team’s AFCON qualifying match there last week.
Highlights from both games are below.