Enyimba’s hope for a miracle in the reverse tie of their CAF Confederation Cup fixture with Raja Casablanca of Morocco did not materialize as the North Africans beat them 2-1.
Raja won the first leg of the tie 1-0 in Aba a fortnight ago, but Enyimba fans were still optimistic of a change in fortune in Casablanca. That could not happen in the 60,000-seat Stade Mohammed V in Morocco.
Raja Casablanca have moved into the CAF Confederation Cup final after they defeated Enyimba 2-1 (3-1 on aggregate) at Stade Mohamed V on Wednesday evening.
The Moroccan giants advance to meet DR Congo heavyweights AS Vita (who convincingly beat Egypt’s Al Masry) in the championship matches, while the Nigerians were left to reflect on their failure to reach a first continental final since 2004.
Enyimba enjoyed the first scoring chances, with Stephen Chukwude shooting just wide of the mark in the 13th minute, while Chinedu Udeagha arrived late to strike a low shot on goal a short while later but was denied by a fine save from goalkeeper Anas Znit.
According to africanfootball.com, Raja took control of the game as the half wore on, and began creating clear opportunities as the half-time break approached. Zakaria Hadraf notably shot just wide in the final minute of regulation time, but a mere 30 seconds later he stole the ball off defender Isiaka Oladuntoye, rounded the goalkeeper and tapped into an empty net to make it 1-0 on the night.
The Nigerians started the second half in a positive fashion and almost levelled the game in the 50th minute, as Wasiu Alalade’s snap shot from outside the box brushed the outside of Zniti’s left-hand post.
Raja then comfortably held the visitors at bay and controlled the game, even doubling their advantage with a late own goal from the unfortunate Oladuntoye, who deflected a left-wing cross into his own net in the 88th minute.