It was mixed fortunes for the Nigerian clubs campaigning in the CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday as Enyimba registered a slim win while Enugu Rangers, the country’s other flag bearers, were thrashed in Egypt.
In the game played in Aba, substitute Martins Usule scored the solitary goal as Enyimba battled to a lone goal victory against Ivorian club, San Pedro.
The Peoples Elephant had started out on a disappointing note in their group opener; losing 2-0 to Hassania Agadir, thanks to first-half goals from Karim El Berkaoui and Malick Cisse.
However, Usman Abd’Allah’s men ensured they got their first victory in the group stage as they mustered a 1-0 win over their West African neighbours on Sunday at the Enyimba International Stadium.
While it was still a barren affair at the end of the 45 minutes, the Enyimba Coach made a wise decision to bring on Usule for Samson Obi – and the lethal forward did not disappoint as he got what proved to be the winning goal just after the hour-mark.
With the victory and three points in the kitty, the reigning Nigeria League champions have put their title aspiration back and are in the second position pending the outcome of tonight’s showdown between Hassania and Algeria’s Paradou AC.
Enyimba travel to the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium, Blida for their next fixture against Paradou on December 29.
While Enyimba recovered from their opening day defeat, it was not the same for Enugu Rangers as they slumped to yet another defeat against another Egyptian opponent.
The Flying Antelopes who last weekend were beaten 3-1 at home by Pyramids suffered a similar fate at the Port Said Stadium as they were humbled 4-2 by Al Masry.
A Nigerian striker with the Egyptian club, Austin Amutu, opened the floodgates of goals with his fifth-minute strike.
While Rangers were four goals down going into the last ten minutes of the game, they scored two late goals that saw them leave with a more respectable scoreline.
Rangers are still rock bottom in Group B with no point from their first two games and goals deficit of -4.
No Nigerian club has ever won this competition and the shaky start by the country’s representative does not inspire confidence that the jinx could be broken this time.