Nigeria’s flagbearers in this year’s CAF Confederation Cup competition, Akwa United and Nasarawa United both won their first leg, first round matches, but Akwa United are the more comfortable after a 1-0 win over Club Mokanda away in Congo-Brazzaville.
A 35th minute goal by Ubong Moses Ekpai earned continental debutants Akwa United FC a famous win in Congo on Saturday, and underscored the progress the club from the Land of Promise has made since sensationally winning the Nigeria FA Cup in November. More recently, the team swept aside all opposition to win the Super Four – a mini tournament put together by the League Management Company for the four Clubs flying Nigeria’s flag in the continent this year.
On Sunday, at the National Stadium, Abuja, Nasarawa United battled to a hard –fought 2-1 over visiting AS Academie Generation Foot of Senegal, meaning the return leg in Dakar in a fortnight is delicately –poised.
Striker Tayo Fabiyi shot the Solid Miners in front after only five minutes from a goal –mouth scramble, but the expected floodgate failed to open. Fabiyi, Thomas Zenke and Esosa Igbinoba all missed opportunities to increase the tally.
The visitors showed great skill, awareness and ability on the ball, but were thwarted by Nasarawa United goalkeeper Danladi Umar on a few occasions. Alieu Jatta, Lemouya Goudiaby, Ismaila Sarr and Ibrahima Niane were particularly impressive.
A minute after resumption, Nasarawa United goalie Umar mis –timed a ball floated into the area, and a lurking Ibrahima Niane made no mistake to draw both teams level.
Though Nasarawa United threw everything into the fray, goalkeeper Mohamed Niare and defenders Mohamed Kane, Sidy Diop and Wagane Faye were forever alert.
In the dying seconds of a regulation time, Nasarawa United’s toil paid off as referee Thiam Mamadou from Mauritania awarded them a penalty kick after the Senegalese defenders handled in the box. Seun Sogbesan made no mistake from the spot.
In the CAF Champions League, Enyimba FC lost 0-1 to Vipers FC of Uganda in Kampala on Friday, in a first round, first leg match.
Warri Wolves FC, Nigeria’s second representatives in the more prestigious competition, await confirmation from CAF of its progress to the second round, following the failure of opponents Praia Cruz from Sao Tome and Principe to show up for the first leg in Warri on Sunday.