Returnee centre back Isiaka Oladuntoye committed two grave errors to diminish Enyimba’s faint hopes of reaching the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup final as they lost 2-1 to Raja Casablanca in their second leg quarter final clash and 3-1 on aggregate.
Oladuntoye lost his footing in first half stoppage time to allow Zakaria Hadraf give Raja the lead before the former Kwara United defender scored an own goal two minutes from time to double Raja’s lead. Enyimba’s consolation came through striker Abdulrahman Bashir who curled home an impeccable effort one minute from time.
Enyimba had lost the first leg of this semi-final contest 0-1 on home soil in Aba on October 3 and required only a miracle to overturn the deficit against a Raja team which had not lost at home at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca in this year’s tournament.
Former Champions League winners Enyimba however put up a respectable showing, taking the game to their opponents in the first half but could not score a much needed goal as striker Stephen Chukwude fired wide while left back Ikouwem Udo Utin was denied by Raja goalkeeper Zinti Anas.
The hosts however got a surprise gift in first half stoppage time when the lively Hadraf robbed Oladuntoye of the ball before wrong footing Enyimba goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai to give Raja a 1-0 lead at the break.
Enyimba continued their composure in the second half although their hosts now grew in confidence. However, striker Wasiu Alalade also went close inside the hour mark when his long range effort came off the foot of the post.
With the game seemingly poised to end 1-0, “Oladuntoye happened again”. The defender while trying to clear Moutaheb’s cross aimed at Moussine Iajour inadvertently volleyed beyond his own goalkeeper Afelokhai with two minutes of normal time remaining.
There was however still time for Enyimba to get one back through a moment of brilliance from two of their substitutes. Joseph Osadiaye ran at two of his markers before laying the ball back for Bashir who unleashed a one-time curler from 25 yards beyond Zniti.
Raja will now face AS Vita in a two-legged final next month after the Congolese side outclassed AS Masry 4-0 earlier on Wednesday. Both Raja and AS Vita met in the group stage of the competition.
Afelokhai; Abalogu, Anaemena, Oladuntoye, Ikouwem; Dare Ojo, Oladapo, Udeagha; Dimgba (Bashir), Alalade (Osadiaye), Chukwude (Adetunji)