CAF Champions League: Enyimba Silence Raja Casablanca


Nigeria’s representatives in this year’s CAF Champions League, Enyimba Football Club of Aba, put up a superlative performance against their opponents from North Africa, Raja Casablanca of Morocco to consolidate their leadership in Group A with a 2-0 victory in the keenly contested match.

The Okey Emordi tutored side used the match, which was played at the Aba Township Stadium today, to appease their fans for the draw recorded at home in the group opener against Al Hilal of Sudan. Enyimba drew the first blood in the 9th minute of the encounter through striker, Kalu Uche, who smashed a low pile drive into Raja’s net.

Enyimba continued to search for more goals by piling pressure on their opponents. Goalkeeper, Chijioke Ejiogu almost gave the visiting team a goal in the 16th minute when he made a howler that almost got Raja an equaliser.

The visiting team resorted to attacking option for them to level up the game but were denied by the formidable defence of the Nigerian team.

Enyimba got their second goal in the 26th minute through Chidozie Johnson, who registered his second goal at the group stage of this year’s competition.

Raja came out smoking to reduce the goal margin as they continued to fight on and even got a round of applause from the Aba fans following a fine interchange of passes among them.

In the second half of the encounter, the Moroccans really had their work cut out for them as they attempted a great comeback against the home team, which was desperate to appease their fans for not beating Al Hilal of Sudan at this same fortress on the opening day of the group phase of the competition.

Enyimba again came close to a third goal after Chiedozie Johnson’s cross from the flank was blocked by Raja’s defence. The North Africans later opted for counter attack game plan which was curtailed by Enyimba’s defence.

The Aba team made double substitutions in the second half, Ifeanyi Ede and Bernard Okorowanta came in for Peter Onoja and Junior Osagie in the 56th minute. Ejiogu redeemed his image as he made a one-handed save to deny a more daring Raja a goal in the 61st minute.

Raja made their first change in the 65th minute as Abdessamad Ouhaki came in for Yassine Salhi, who was booked in the first half for dissent.

Kalu was also back on the pitch after a slight injury that forced him out for more medical attention.

Towards the dying minutes of the game, both teams seemed to have settled for this scoreline as there was no longer any urgency in their approach to the game. They were all waiting for the match to end, quite a sharp contrast to the first 45 minutes.

The match produced three yellow cards for both teams. Raja’s Yassine Sallu and Mamadou Traore were booked in the 33rd and 83rd minutes, while Enyimba’s skipper, Chidozie Johnson, was booked in the 72nd minute.


By Olusegun Abidoye

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