Two Nigerian Champions, Enugu Rangers International and Enyimba FC of Aba, today booked tickets for club and country to the lucrative Group Stage of the CAF Confederation Cup, as they cut short the ambitions of Togo and South Africa in crucial matches decided in Enugu and Nelspruit.
With a lone goal scored by Rangers striker Chinonso Eziekwe in the 17th minute at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, the Flying Antelopes edged past their Togolese opponents, ASC Kara, by a point advantage for a place in the Group Stage.
At the end of the match, both teams tied at 2-2 aggregate on goals as ASC won the first match in their home ground 2-1.
Rangers’ 1-0 win in Enugu means that the Coal City boys advance on points aggregate, following the away-goal rule.
Enyimba, on the other hand, booked an easy pass to the group stage, after the team today humbled TS Galaxy 2-1 in their South African home ground.
The City Elephants had in the first leg trounced the south Africans 2-0 in Aba, and has thus brought the aggregate scores to 4-1 in favour of the Abia side.
It was a frustrating journey for TS Galaxy as Enyimba stoutly denied them all efforts to score in the first half of the match, which was played at the Mbombela Stadium in the south-eastern city of Nelspruit, South Africa.
The three goals of the match came in the last fifteen minutes with Enyimba scoring first through Daniel Darkwah.
Daniel had collected a superb pass from Ekene Oliseme and tapped a beautiful chip over the head of onrushing Galaxy goalkeeper, Morake.
As if this was not enough, Enyimba surged forward and scored again eight minutes to the end of the match. The goal was a beauty from Martin Usule who picked another through pass, dribbled his marker and the goalkeeper and fired into an empty net.
Galaxy’s consolation goal came through striker Terrance Mashego in the final minute of the match.
Enyimba, the Nigerian League Champions, were knocked out of the CAF Champions League and downgraded to the CAF Confederation Cup to begin another campaign with Nigeria’s FA Cup Champions, Rangers International.
Both teams will now fly Nigeria’s flag at the Group Stage of the competition.