After a largely even first-half, Enyimba lost in Aba to visiting Raja Casablanca through a second-half strike by Abdelilah Hafidi in the first leg of the semi-final of the CAF Confederation Cup game.
The Aba-based side looked to start the game on the front-foot with Sunday Adetunji, Ibrahim Mustapha, Joseph Osadiaye and Stanley Dimgba all included in the starting line-up.
However, Usman Abdallah’s side was not quick off the blocks having to put in major defending to keep the first-half goalless.
Three minutes after half-time, Hafidi swept home Soufiane Rahimi’s cutback to give Raja the lead and silence the boisterous fans. Abdallah sent on Wasiu Alalade hoping to inject some freshness into the attack.
Raja almost extended the lead but for goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai who fortuitously saved a rebound shot after he had parried Zakaria Hadraf’s troubling cross.
Enyimba found a lease of life after Dimgba’s shot from the edge of the box struck the arm of a Raja player.
The referee whistled for a penalty which Dimgba lined behind. However, the winger couldn’t hit the target skying his effort above the crossbar.
Abdallah’s men couldn’t force an equaliser in front of their fans as they recorded their first home loss in the competition.
Enyimba will hope to overturn the deficit in the second leg of the fixture to become the first Nigerian club to feature in the final since Dolphins in 2005.
The second leg of the fixture comes up October 24, in Casablanca, Morocco.
SOURCE: The Guardian