On Wednesday, the 1st leg of the preliminary qualifying round for the 2019 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Cup between Enugu Rangers from Nigeria and Defence Forces S.C. from Ethiopia took place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, home of the Flying Antelopes.
After winning the Aiteo Cup in Nigeria in dramatic fashion, coming from 3:0 down, they lost to Lobi Stars in the NFF Super Cup. Now, the Enugu Rangers will be looking to make their mark in this second biggest African club competition. Last year, Enyimba managed to get to the semi-finals of the competition.
The Flying Antelopes were a better team from the start and have managed to create a few chances, with Ifeanyi George being the main threat in front of goal. The Rangers had 60% of the ball, but at the end of the first half, the deadlock was still to be broken.
The home team made a couple of changes at halftime. Kelvin Itoya and Ibrahim Ajani Ajayi came in at the start of the 2nd half instead of Godwin Zaki and Ifeanyi George. The Ethiopians didn’t attack a lot and the Rangers again had the initiative. And then, in the 55th minute, they finally got a chance to score. Ajani Ibraheem earned the penalty, and Godwin Aguda stepped up to take it. He scored easily and gave his team a 1:0 lead.
Even though they were a goal behind, the Defence Forces team couldn’t change the flow of the game and the Antelopes kept attacking and trying to score again. After missing a few solid chances, including the shot by Bright Silas which hit the goal post, they finally got the chance to increase their lead when Kelvin Itoya was brought down in the box and the referee had no chance but to give another penalty. Once again, Aguda was the man to pick up the ball, put it on the penalty spot and score, to give his team a 2:0 lead. This was in the 84th minute. The result didn’t change, and it finished 2:0.
With this win, the Antelopes have all but secured their place in the 2nd round as Defence Forces of Ethiopia are still to show any sort of attacking momentum. The second leg of this round is scheduled for 5th December in Ethiopia. The winner of this match will play the winner of the match-up between USM Bel Abbes from Algeria and LISCR FC from Liberia in the next round to be played mid-December.