Midfielder Farouk Mohammed converted a late minute penalty to give Nigerian side Enyimba an important 1-0 win over Malian side Djoliba in a CAF Confederation Cup group C encounter in Bamako on Sunday night.
Enyimba goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai has been his team’s hero, pulling off numerous saves before Togolese star, Mohammed stepped up to convert from the spot after debutant Sunday Adetunji was fouled inside the penalty box at the nick of time.
The People’s Elephant – who began the match in third spot after CARA Brazaville defeated AC Williamsville in the day’s earlier game – moved joint top with CARA whom they will face in their final group game in Nigeria in ten days’ time.
Enyimba coach Usman Abdallah dropped Ghanaian goalkeeper Fatau Dauda who had kept goal in Enyimba’s previous group stage games for the trip to Bamako, picking Afelokhai ahead of Nigeria’s third choice goalkeeper at the World Cup; Ikechukwu Ezenwa who made his first appearance in the match day squad since the end of the World Cup.
Abdallah’s decision turned out to be an inspired one as Afelokhai kept his side in the game with saves on several occasions. The former Kano Pillars captain twice denied Djoliba substitute Ekwa from point blank range and made a total number of seven saves to help Enyimba to their first victory away from home in the group stage.
FT: Djoliba 0-1 Enyimba
Late penalty by Farouk Mohammed gave Enyimba three priceless points.
They still need to win their last game to be sure of progress though, and also pray and fast that FIFA doesn't ban Nigeria on Monday. #CAFC
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) August 19, 2018
While Afelokhai did his part in goal, Adetunji, in his first appearance for the club since his switch from local rivals Abia Warriors was a handful for the hosts’ defenders and it was no surprise when it was him that was lunged on at the dot of time. Mohammed duly obliged to give Enyimba their first away points in the group stage.
The win takes the two-time CAF Champions League winners to second spot in Group C with nine points, same as leaders CARA Brazaville who have a superior goals difference.
Enyimba now need an outright victory against the Congolese to be sure of progress to the quarter final of this year’s tournament. The match is billed for Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at a yet to be decided venue in Nigeria. Enyimba are hoping their home ground in Aba will be ready on time to be used for the decider.