It was indeed a sad day for Nigerian football as former African champions, Enyimba and Remo Stars were kicked out of this year’s CAF Champions League after losing yesterday’s return legs of the first preliminary round matches at home.
At the Aba Township Stadium, the reigning Nigeria Premier League (NPFL) champions, Enyimba FC who needed only a goal to progress to the second preliminary round of the Champions League were forced to a goalless by Al-Ahly Benghazi of Libya.
It will be recalled that Enyimba had lost the first leg of the encounter last week 3-4 and needed to win by at least a goal to nil to move to the next round.
Unfortunately, after dominating proceedings in both halves, the visitors who deployed solid defensive tactics stood firm to clinch the important away victory.
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Since 2015, this is the first time that Enyimba have been eliminated at this stage.
They had won the prestigious trophy back-to-back in 2003 and 2004 when Felix Anyasi-Agwu was the Chairman of the club.
In Ikenne, it was another wailing and gnashing of teeth as 2023 NPFL runners-up, Remo Stars also exited the Champions League after losing 2-3 on penalties to Medeama of Ghana
Although Remo Stars won the return leg 1-0 for a 1-1 aggregate, they couldn’t hold their nerves in the penalty shoot-out that ensued paving the way for the Ghanaians to progress at their expense.
As it is, the only consolation for Nigerian football fans will be the hard fought away victory of Bendel Insurance over ASO Chelf of Algeria in the Confederation Cup.
Although they lost 0-1 in the return leg, Insurance triumphed 4-3 on penalties to progress to the second Round.
Meanwhile, Rivers United who were drawn bye due to their impressive performance in the last edition of the Confederation Cup will now join the fray in the second round.