By James Agberebi:
Enyimba have qualified for the play-off stage of the CAF Confederation Cup after outscoring Energie FC of Benin Republic 3-2 in their second-leg first round tie at the U.J. Esuene Stadium o Sunday.
Enyimba advanced into the next round 5-2 on aggregate after winning the first-leg 2-0 a last week.
Abdulrahman Bashir, who later went off injured, and Chinonso Okonkwo were the scorers for Enyimba.
Super Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa made his debut for Enyimba against the Beninoise side following his move from FC IfeanyiUbah.
The Peoples Elephant join Plateau United and MFM FC who dropped from the CAF Champions League into the final qualifying stage of the Confederation Cup.
Enyimba got off to the perfect start as Bashir capitalised on an error by Energie keeper Sheyi Damilola and slotted into the net.
The opening goal was to be Bashir’s only contribution as he went off injured and was replaced by Stephen Chukwude on six minutes.
In the 10th minute, the game was halted following a collision between Ezenwa and Energie’s Evode Oreko but the Super Eagles goalkeeper was able to carry on.
Enyimba went close to doubling their lead in the 27th minute but Dare Ojo failed to put away two quick opportunities that fell to him inside the visitors’ area.
Wasiu Alalade was the next player to go close for Enyimba on 31 minutes as his unexpected shot almost caught Damilola off his line but the Energie keeper recovered quickly to palm the effort wide.
With five minutes left in the first half, Stanley Dimgba saw his strike hit the upright after turning well in Energie’s box.
Energie equalised in the 62nd minute as Jules Elegbede deflected a low shot past Ezenwa.
But Enyimba went back in front just five minutes after conceding as Okonkwo made it 2-1 off a fierce shot from inside the area.
With 10 minutes left, Chukwude had a glorious chance to extend Enyimba’s lead only to hit his effort against the upright.
In the 89th minute, Energie were back on level terms again from a a well-taken free-kick.
But in the 92nd minute Okonkwo converted from the penalty spot after he was brought down inside the box.