One slim win and two losses were the lot of Nigerian football club sides campaigning in the continent’s 2019/2020 club competitions after Saturday’s first leg matches.
But the situation is made to look bleak, in spite of the seemingly-respectable scorelines, by the fact that two of the second leg battles will be at away grounds.
Two-time African champions Enyimba International Football Club of Aba lost 0-1 to Rahimo FC of Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou in their CAF Champions League Preliminary Round first leg clash on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Issou Zonon scored the only goal of the match for the hosts in the second half.
The result means the Aba giants need a 2-0 win at least to advance to the second preliminary round in September.
Given their pedigree, Enyimba should have no problem advancing, even though there is always the element of surprise with unknown quantities such as Rahimo FC.
However, the story does not look palatable for Kano Pillars FC who bagged a scrappy 3-2 win over Asante Kotoko of Ghana at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, in the same CAF Champions League.
Rahaggu Yusuf had handed the hosts an early lead, but the Ghanaians rallied to draw level and went ahead soon after.
Kano Pillars came back on level terms before the halftime break, while Gambo Mohammed scored the decisive goal late on to ensure Pillars earned a slim 3-2 advantage.
But with the return leg in Accra in a fortnight time, Kano Pillars have a mountain to climb, given Asante Kotoko’s experience, history and preparations for the competition.
The Ghanaian side need just a 1-0 win, while the Pillars need to avoid defeat anyhow.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, Niger Tornadoes failed to make their home advantage count as they lost 1-2 to visiting Santoba of Guinea at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna.
Niger Tornadoes will need a lot to overturn the first leg deficit when they travel to Conakry for the reverse fixture, needing to win 2-0 or 3-2 there.
Meanwhile, Rangers International FC of Enugu, Nigeria’s second entrants in the Confederation Cup, were drawn by in the first round games.
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