Nigeria Professional ootball League (NPFL) side, Enyimnba of Aba on Wednesday left Johannesburg, South Africa in disappotment, following their 2-1 loss to Orlando Pirates in their second match of the group stage of the CAF Confedrations Cup.
The Peoples’ Elephant went to Th Rainbow Nation in high hopes, following their opening group 2-1 win at home against Al-Ahly Benghazi of Lybia, but the suffered a setback with the same scoreline in midweek, much to the dismay of the players and their crew.
Drooping heads and teary eyes ruled the Aba-based team’s camp, after The Bucaneers’ substitute, Tshegofatso Mabasa made amends for a penalty miss as he scored an 89th minute winner to help Pirates beat Enyimba 2-1 and move to four points in Group A of the second-tier continental clubs’ competition.
The report by cafonline read in part: “In wet and slippery conditions, Mabasa slid and hit the ball against his right foot as he missed a 76th minute penalty, but he made amends to head home at the near post for the winner as The Bucaneers kept their hope of a quarter final berth alive.
“Dean Hotto’s cheeky backheel had given the hosts the lead before Enyimba equalized at the stroke of halftime through Tunde Oladapo’s penalty.
“Pirates were faster off the blocks with Hotto and Onassis Mntambo causing all sorts of danger. The latter had several shots at goal with the closest being in the 25th minute when he tried his luck from range, the ball flying just wide.
“Pirates got the lead after 27 minutes when Hotto scored with a cheeky backheel. Enyimba keeper John Noble had punched a cross into Mntambo’s path, the striker nodding the ball down for Hotto who scored.
“Enyimba were not going down without a fight and on the half hour mark they came close, Oladapo seeing his left footed freekick creep just inches over the bar. Two minutes later, the Nigerian side quickly stepped defense into offense, but Iwualu Emmanuel’s curling shot was saved by the keeper.
“They were handed a lifeline back into the game at the stroke of halftime when a rushed challenge from keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane cluttered down Iwualu inside the box. Skipper Oladapo stepped up to calmly slot in the penalty.
“Pirates came back off the breather determined to get their lead back and they thought they had the opportunity for the second with a 76th minute penalty when substitute Gabadinho Mhango was hacked down inside the box barely a minute after coming on.
“However, Mabasa saw his penalty go begging as he slid and hit the ball against his right foot as it skied over the bar. They did not give up the fight and were rewarded in the 89th minute when the burly forward flicked in a header at the near post off a Hotto corner to make amends and hand his side maximum points at home.”