Enyimba of Aba coach, Usman Abdallah has admitted that his players’ inability to convert many chances that came their way account for their barren draw with visiting Al-Hilal of Sudan in the first leg of their final qualifier for this year’s CAF Champions League.
Abdallah admitted in the wake of the encounter in Aba that his side should have done better against a team that had one of their players sent off early in the first half, but promised they will do better in the second leg.
The soft-spoken tactician was in somber mood, after Enyimba failed to get a result in front of their home fans, even after Al-Hilal had Bazar Nassir sent off after just 20 minutes for an off-the-ball incident.
He, however, picked positives from the fact that the two-time African champions dominated the encounter and, though they failed to put away the chances they created, of which Reuben Bala the worst culprit, Abdallah insists they will get things right during the second leg.
The People’s Elephant are the only Nigerian club left in the Champions League, after Kano Pillars were sent packing by Asante Kotoko of Ghana in the previous round and, though the Aba club would still have an opportunity of dropping into the CAF Confederation Cup should they be eliminated by Al-Hilal, Abdallah says his side will storm back in their reverse fixture.
While Enyimba battled to a barren end in The City of Elephants, their South-east rivals from The Coal City, Rangers International returned to the country on Sunday morning after losing 2-1 to AS Pelican of Gabon in their first leg, first round Confederation Cup game in Libreville.
The Flying Antelopes were undone by the concession of two goals in the first half, including an own goal by Senegalese import Pape Ousmane but new signing Nnamdi Egbujor’s spectacular strike left them with some rays of hope for the return leg.
Rangers will host Pelican in the return leg at Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu in a fortnight, while Enyimba will play away in Omdurman, ahead of which Abdallah stressed that his side must not be written off, as he is holding unto belief that they have what it takes to turn the table fully around against their esteemed North Afircan rivals.
Abdallah declared during Mega Sports on Star 101.5 FM, Lagos: “The boys played well but they lost a lot of scoring chances. It’s all about goals, but we did not get that right, despite dominating the game. We could not win, but we did not lose. All hope is not lost yet. We will go to Sudan and get an away result over there and still qualify for the group stage.”