Nigeria’s representatives in the 2018/19 CAF continental competitions Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers on Wednesday qualified for the next round of their respective tournaments after victories over their opponents.
Lobi Stars defeated Cameroonian side UMS de Loum 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate in a game decided at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu on Wednesday afternoon.
The nominated Nigerian league champions arrived the Eastern Nigerian city only in the early hours of Wednesday after a late change in the venue of the game originally scheduled for the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi.
Solomon Ogbeide-led Lobi Stars did not take long to settle down in Enugu however as striker Sikiru Alimi latched onto a rebound after Samad Kadiri’s effort came off the post, to give Lobi the lead, thereby cancelling out the 1-0 deficit from the first leg.
The scoreline remained 1-0 for the next hour of football but Lobi Stars got reprieve after they were handed a penalty for a handball decision against Loum. Ivorian midfielder Yaya Kone converted from the spot in the 70th minute to seal Lobi’s progress to the next round of the competition.
Lobi Stars will now face Kenyan champions Gor Mahia in the penultimate stage before the group stage after Gor Mahia defeated Malawian side Nyasa Bullets on penalties on Wednesday. The first leg comes up at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on the weekend of December 15.
In the Confederation Cup, AITEO Cup champions Enugu Rangers sealed qualification to the next round of the competition after an emphatic 3-1 win over hosts Defence Force of Ethiopia to progress 5-1 on aggregate.
The hosts raced to an early lead when Minyelu Wendimu converted from the penalty spot in the third minute, halving the 2-0 frst leg deficit but winger Bright Silas brought Rangers level in the 36th minute before Godwin Aguda silenced the home crowd at the Addis Ababa Stadium with a 40th minute penalty after he was fouled inside the box.
Rangers took the result beyond any doubt when substitute Kelvin Itoya scored from inside the box eleven minutes from time to seal Rangers’ 5-1 progress to the next round.
Up next for Rangers is Algerian Cup champions USM Bel Abbes who defeated Liberian side LISCR 4-1 on aggregate after losing the second leg 1-0 in Monrovia on Wednesday.
Bel Abbes will host the first leg on the weekend of December 14 while the second leg comes up in Enugu a week later.