CAF Confederations cup: Finidi’s brilliant start continues as Enyimba beat Al-Ittihad

The former Super Eagles winger continues to impress as the manager of the People’s Elephants after he led them to a comfortable win over their North African rivals 

Ex-Nigeria international Finidi George maintained his perfect start to his managerial career at Enyimba after the Aba-based side beat Lybian side Al-Ittihad 2-0 in the first leg of their CAF Confederations Cup playoffs, thanks to goals from Sadiq Abubakar and Victor Mbaoma.

After seeing out Senegalese side Diambars 4-0 on aggregate in the second round of qualifiers for the group stage of the Confederations cup, the People’s Elephants secured a date with the former Lybian champions Al-Ittihad who dropped to the competition after they suffered 1-0 loss to Esperance in the Champions League.

The Lybian side play their home games in Tunisia, and the first leg was initially slated for the 28th of November, but it had to be postponed due to Enyimba’s inability to make it to Tunisia because of their strict Covid-19 protocols.

However, Enyimba welcomed the Lybian side at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba in what was supposed to be the second leg, and they put up an impressive show despite the lack of supporters in the stadium.

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Despite the Lybian side’s fearsome reputation, the odds were always stacked against them as Enyimba had home advantage in their favour.

The game proceeded with Enyimba seeing more of the ball and trying to cut open spaces, while the Lybians sat back, hoping to hit on the counter.

However, it was the home side’s game plan that later paid off in the 21st minute as Sadiq Abubakar headed in a cross from Yakubu Bilal to put Enyimba in front.

The People’s Elephants didn’t relent in their efforts as they continued to push their opponents back. In the 34th minute, they found joy once more in the form of Victor Mbaoma, who slotted in a peach of a goal to give Enyimba a 2-0 lead.

Finidi George’s boys took the lead into halftime, and in the second half, they came out all guns blazing.

However, they were unable to breach the Al-Ittihad defence. The former NPFL champions could have made it three in stoppage time, but Orok’s shot hit the upright, and in the end, they ran out 2-0 victors.

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The date for the second leg of the fixture is tentative

Meanwhile, despite a 2-2 aggregate scoreline, Rivers United were eliminated from the Confederations Cup after a 1-0 loss to Egyptian side Al Masry by virtue of away goals.

Rivers had won the first leg at home 2-1, but they could not get the away goal that would have sent them to the next round.

This leaves Enyimba as the only Nigerian team present on the continent.