Enyimba, MFM win as Akwa go down to Al Ittihad
By George Akpayen
Two-time African champions Enyimba put one foot into the next round of the CAF Confederation Cup with a 2-0 win in Cotonou over Energie as MFM scraped to a 2-1 success against Algerian side MC Alger in the Champions League at the Agege Stadium in Lagos on Wednesday.
The story was different for Aiteo Cup holders Akwa United who succumbed to a late goal in Tunisia against Libyan side Al Ittihad.
The People’s Elephant sealed the first leg, first round game at Energie inside 10 minutes.
Four minutes into the game Enyimba took the lead fortuitously when Energie defender Bolarinwa Lawal Lanignan’s header was misjudged by his goalkeeper Sheyi Damilola Wilson and the ball crossed the line though Stanley Dimgba was on hand to stab it home afterwards just to make sure.
It did not take too long for Enyimba to add a second. Enyimba new signing Austine Oladapo opened his account for the season in all competitions with an expertly struck effort into the bottom corner after collecting Dimgba’s pass inside the box.
Paul Aigbogun’s men take a two-goal lead into the second leg billed to hold in Calabar in 11 days.
MC Alger made MFM work for their slim win. Chijioke Akuneto won a penalty after Azzi Ayoub fouled him in Alger’s box. Akuneto calmly converted from the spot to give MFM the lead nine minutes to the break.
Eleven minutes into the restart, Abdulaziz Ammachi levelled the score at 1-1 leaving MFM head coach Fidelis Ilechukwu furious on the sideline.
It looked like MC Alger would take with them a comfortable result back to Algeria for the second leg before defensive midfielder Monsuru Bashiru scored a blinder to help MFM edge past the Algerian side.
In Sfax, Akwa United could not hold their lines till full time as Al Ittihad substitute Muad Eisa breached their backline by heading home the winner on 84 minutes past goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo.
Akwa United will play hosts to Libya’s Al Ittihad in the second leg at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on March 18.