Friday Jan 08, 2021. 13:00
Enyimba coach Fatai Osho has said the concession of an early goal derailed their hopes of turning around their CAF Champions League first round tie.
The People’s Elephant defeated Sudan’s Al Merrikh 2-1 in a second-leg clash in Aba on Wednesday, but exited the top-tier continental competition 4-2 on aggregate, demoting them to the playoff round of the CAF Confederation Cup.
After losing the first leg 3-0 in Sudan, Enyimba needed a strong start to have any hope of a comeback, but they shipped an away goal to Seifelden Malik in the eighth minute, putting them 4-0 down on aggregate.
The Nigerian side recovered to win the game 2-1 thanks to a brace from Victor Mbaoma, but it was not enough to see them through to the group stage.
“It’s quite clear that the early goal really unsettled us. Looking at the first leg, the Terry guy [Malik], their number 9 did a lot of work and we know his strength and abilities and we tried to curtail him,” Osho is quoted by Sports 247.
“It’s quite disappointing to us. It’s not really a good thing when you lose to start apportioning blames to the players, I don’t do that, but I believe we could have done much more better.
“That goal really unsettled us, imagine where that goal never was, we have two goals and are looking for one goal to stretch the game, that could have been much easier for us. It’s been a bad one and it’s unfortunate that we won, but didn’t qualify.”
Enyimba will be drawn against a first-round winner from the Confederation Cup for that competition’s playoff round, set to begin midway through next month.