BY JOE APU
two time CAF champions league winners, Enyimba International of Aba beat group B winners Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in a dead rubber in Port Harcourt on a rainy Tuesday.
The ‘Brazilians’ already qualified for the semifinals ahead of the tie and fielded a few second-string players with a view on the start of their league campaign.
The clash started slowly as both sides felt their way into the game, with the ball mainly being knocked around in the middle of the park.
The first opportunity of the clash arrived in the 25th minute when the Brazilians conceded a free kick in a dangerous position. Uche stepped up and hammered home the set-piece for the 1-0 lead.
However, Pitso Mosimane’s charges responded only nine minutes later. Percy Tau marauded down the right wing, forced a mistake in the Enyimba box, and then headed home for 1-1 after the defence failed to clear. The sides looked set to go into the break level, but a mistake from Wayne Sandilands right on the stroke of half-time gave Mfon Udoh a simple finish for a 2-1 lead to the hosts.
Four minutes into the second half, the home team extended its lead. Rheece Evans conceded a soft penalty and Udoh stepped up to slot the spot-kick with ease for a 3-1 scoreline.
Sundowns created a rare chance to reduce the deficit in the 58th minute when a cross from the left picked out Themba Zwane unmarked in front of goal, but he somehow directed his shot wide from close range. A comeback seemed more and more unlikely as the game wore on due to the heavy rain that created pools of water, which made it almost impossible to play the ball along the ground.
Enyimba were almost gifted a fourth as the Sundowns defence struggled to deal with the conditions underfoot, but they missed out on the opening and had to settle for a 3-1 victory.