Winger Bright Silas scored twice at the start and end of the first half to give Nigerian side Enugu Rangers a 2-0 win over Algerian side USM Bel Abbés (USMBA) in their second leg first round CAF Confederation Cup game to send the Nigerian Cup champions through to the playoff round.
Both teams tied goalless in the first leg match decided in Algiers a week ago, leaving plenty to play for in the return leg decided at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu on Sunday but Rangers took firm control of the tie as early as the fifth minute when Silas latched onto Ugonna Uzochukwu’s pass before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting to an empty net to give Rangers the lead.
The Flying Antelopes continued to play on the front foot and the woodwork came to USMBA’s rescue just before the half hour mark when Chidera Eze’s long range effort came off the post and rebounded to safety.
Rangers attackers – including Silas, Ajani Ibrahim and Seka Pascal – continued to fritter away scoring chances but it was the pint-sized Silas who doubled the hosts’ lead in the 45th minute when he converted an effort from an acute angle.
The Ivorien, missed the best chance of the second half eight minutes from time when he hit his effort wide with the goalkeeper at his mercy. The visitors though, finished the game with ten men when defender Boualem Mesmoudi was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Rangers’ 2-0 aggregate score means they will participate in the playoff round of the Confederation Cup for the second time in three season after they were beaten at this same stage by ZESCO of Zambia in 2017.
FT: @RangersIntFC 2-0 USM Bel Abbes (2-0 on aggregate)
Bright Silas' first half brace propel the Nigerian Cup champions into the playoff round of the #TotalCAFCC
Boualem Mesmoudi was sent off in stoppage time for the Algerians.
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) December 23, 2018
Rangers head coach Gbenga Ogunbote who is grateful for his team’s progress bemoaned their profligacy after the game.
“I think the team is improving per game. We give glory to God we have been able to scale this hurdle again. I think we still have one (hurdle) more (to get to the group stage),” Ogunbote told www.aclsports.com
“Even though we were a bit wasteful. This is a game we should have wrapped up in the first half. In a tournament of this nature, you don’t toy with chances. I think it was a good one for the team,” added the former Enyimba coach.
Rangers will know their next opponents when draws for the next round is conducted in Cairo on Friday.
Confederation Cup last 16 for the playoffs