Enyimba lose to dash hopes of CAF Champions League glory for Nigeria

Johannesburg (AFP) –


Enyimba were eliminated from the CAF Champions League Sunday, leaving Nigeria without a club in the upcoming group phase of the elite African club competition.

A goal just after half-time from Mohamed Musa gave Al Hilal of Sudan a 1-0 victory over Enyimba in Omdurman and the east Africans won by the same score overall after a goalless first leg.

It was a shock outcome to the last-32 tie as five-goal Enyimba had impressive in the preliminary round while Hilal needed the away goal rule to scrape past modest opponents.

Kano Pillars, the other Nigerian contenders for the Champions League this season, were defeated by Asante Kotoko of Ghana in the previous round.

The only consolation for two-time African champions Enyimba is that they will get another shot at winning a CAF competition this season by competing in the second-tier Confederation Cup.

All 16 first round losers drop to the Confederation Cup and will play last-32 winners in that competition in two-leg play-offs during October with group places at stake.

However, the CAF Champions League is a far more lucrative and prestigious competition and Nigerian football supporters will be bitterly disappointed by the failure of Enyimba.

Kotoko will also be competing in the Confederation Cup after they crashed 3-0 away to Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in Monastir after building a two-goal first leg advantage.

Algerian Karim Aribi took his goal tally to a chart-topping seven in the Champions League this season by scoring twice in the second half after Mortadha Ben Ouanes put the Tunisians ahead.

- Red-carded -

Etoile had Saddam Ben Aziza red-carded on 79 minutes with the tie deadlocked at 2-2 on aggregate and Aribi scored the crucial goal five minutes later.

Tunisia will have two contenders in the group phase as trophy-holders Esperance survived a scare Friday to defeat minnows Elect-Sport of Chad 2-1 near Tunis and qualify 3-2 overall.

Hassan Ibrahim rattled the four-time champions by scoring for the Chadian electricity company club before half-time.

Ivorian Ibrahim Ouattara levelled on 62 minutes and Algerian Abdelraouf Benguit struck the goal that won the second leg and the tie with seven minutes remaining.

Also on Friday, former champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa hammered Cote d'Or of the Seychelles 11-1 near Pretoria to create two Champions League records and equal another.

The 16-1 aggregate victory was the biggest in the 55 years of the competition, bettering the 13-goal successes of Al Ahly and Zamalek of Egypt and Young Africans of Tanzania.

Sundowns also became the first club to score 11 goals in a single match, overtaking the 10 goals netted by Difaa el Jadida of Morocco two seasons ago.

The 10-goal winning margin in a single game matched that of El Jadida with Sundowns' goal spree spearheaded by Sibusiso Vilakazi with a hat-trick.

Sundowns led 6-0 at half-time and among the scorers were two Uruguayans, Gaston Sirino and recent signing Mauricio Affonso.

A group phase draw to split the 16 qualifiers into four groups will be made on October 9 in Cairo with the first matches scheduled for November 29 and 30.