ENYIMBA QUALIFY FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP PHASE AFTER PENALTIES

ENYIMBA QUALIFY FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP PHASE AFTER PENALTIES

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Nigeria’s Enyimba Wednesday night qualified for the group phase of the CAF Champions League in dramatic fashion winning 4-3 on penalties after both teams played out to a 3-3 aggregate over  two legs.

Enyimba won the first leg 3-0 in Port Harcourt, but Etoile canceled out those goals in the return leg in Sousse Wednesday night.

However, in the ensuing penalty shootout Enyimba triumphed 4-3 after it dragged into sudden death.

It was a similar scene 12 years ago when Enyimba retained the Champions League by edging past the Tunisians on penalties after aggregate scores stood at 3-3.

Enyimba defended resolutely going into the return leg inside a packed Olympic Stadium in Sousse, but they offered very little going forward.

The seven-time Nigeria champions held out until the 42nd minute, when a well-taken free kick by Hamza Lahmar flew over the defensive wall and beyond the impressive goalkeeper Theophlius Afelokhai.

Etoile continued to take the game to Enyimba after the interval and they were rewarded in the 62nd minute, when the Brazilian Diogo Acosta headed home from close range.

The Tunisia league leaders then completed a remarkable comeback on 71 minutes, when Acosta finished off another attack with a low shot from inside the box which beat Afelokhai hollow.

The game therefore had to be decided on penalties and after Enyimba lost their first two kicks with substitute goalkeeper Jebali saving, Afelokhai then pulled off the saves that gave them hope to fight back and win 4-3 on penalties in sudden death.

Etoile will now drop down to feature in the second-tier Confederation Cup, which they won last year.

Africanfootball

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