Which was more interesting to watch? The great control of the game by the center referee or Mabasa’s winner at the dead; your guess is as good as mine.
Enyimba FC succumbed to a 2-1 defeat in the hands of Orlando Pirates on match day two of the CAF Confederation Cup. Team captain Austin Oladapo thought he had earned the Elephants a point at the stroke of half-time when he lashed home a penalty to cancel out Daniel Hotto’s opener, however, the Buccanears grabbed a last gasp winner with Mabasa’s header.
Fast paced, intensed pressure, but most importantly, a drama-filled game, and here are the major talking points from the 2-1 loss in Soweto.
Cold feet on a rainy day in Soweto
It was an uncaharacteristic display from the People’s Elephant in South Africa. Burdensome transition, miscued passes, and a touch too many on many occassions was the bane of the team as they struggled to get into their groove.
Enyimba FC have proven time after time to be the best ball playing side in Nigeria, weaving lovely patterns, carving opponents open, and putting up a coherent display; on the night, the boys looked out of sought. Did they develop a cold feet on a rainy day in Soweto?
Late drama, déjà vu?
Once again it happened! Enyimba FC conceding late in a game, a painful sight to behold and one that will irk the manager.
Just over a fortnight ago in a domestic league game against rivals Akwa United, Enyimba FC conceded a goal with the last kick of the game, something coach Fatai Osho attributed to a lapse in concentration.
Coach Fatai Osho must be scratching his head on how to cut-off what is fast becoming a trend with his lads.
There is always a bad day in the office, but no one would have predicted Anthony Omaka, Austin Oladapo, and Anayo Iwuala in someways having a quiet game.
The aggressive high pressing style of the Pirates side seemed to have nullified the effects of the ever combative Omaka and calm Oladapo in midfield, which in turn limited ball retention and supply to the forwards.
John Noble and Anayo Iwuala stand out
In a game completely dominated by the South Africans, it is hard to find many positives from the defeat. However, goalkeeper John Noble and winger Anayo Iwuala walked off the pitch in Soweto with their heads held high.
In spite of an earlier fumbling of a cross which gifted Orlando Pirates their first goal, goalkeeper John Noble redeemed himself with strings of world class saves. In many instances when the defence was beaten, the last line of defence came to the rescue.
Enyimba FC had 10 minutes of sustained pressure just before halftime and during this period Anayo Iwuala caused lots of problems for the Bucs’ defence, most notably winning a penalty. Not a perfect game from the duo but enough to give a pass mark.