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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Pyramids weather early storm in Nigeria, advance to CAFCC semi-finals comfortably

Nigerian champions Enyimba had their opportunities early on at home to put a dent in the three goal deficit accumulated from their CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final first leg defeat, but an early Ibrahim Adel goal for Pyramids FC paved the way for the Egyptian team to confirm their spot in the semi-finals by a 5-2 aggregate score. Pyramids advance to face Raja Casablanca in a semi-final tie, the winner of which will be the favorites to take the title.

The chances came early for the hosts and inside ten minutes Victor Mboama was sent in, blasting his close range effort from a tight angle off target. Philip Ozor was heavily involved in some of Enyimba’s work going forward and queued up a smashing effort from 30 yards out that required the intervention of Pyramids keeper Ahmed El Shenawy, who distinguished himself well before being forced off due to injury in the 37th minute.

However, the failure to convert these early shooting opportunities came back to hurt the Peoples’ Elephant. A poor giveaway in the 32nd minute from the Enyimba defense gave Pyramids starlet Ibrahim Adel an opening and he took advantage by curling a shot over keeper John Noble, who was caught too far off his line. Enyimba responded in the 40th minute through a well placed shot from recent Nigeria national team debutant Iwuala Anayo, but still needed three goals by the time the halftime whistle blew.

There was still remote hope for Enyimba coming out of halftime, but the visitors had settled into the match by then and did excellently to keep the Nigerian side from generating any momentum. It wasn’t until the 71st minute that Enyimba had a good look at substitute keeper Sherif Ekramy’s goal, and the veteran did excellently to tip Ozor’s close range shot over the bar. From then on the Egyptian big spenders killed the game off and clinched the aggregate victory without too much trouble.

Highlights of the match are below.