Two time African Champions, Enyimba FC were held to a 0-0 draw in Calabar on Wednesday by South African side Bidvest Wits in a tense CAF Confederation Cup playoff fixture for the group stages of the tournament.
It was a game of tactics up against strength. Bidvest Wits came into the game with confidence, defended strongly against their hosts in the first half and relied upon the height of their strikers to break down the Enyimba defence.
Enyimba gradually stamped their dominance on the game as the half wore on with a few misses coming from the forward line of Stephen Chukwude, Chinonso Okonkwo and Abdulrahman Bashir who had most of their attacking forays come down the left flank.
The best opportunity of the half came off a header by Chukwude which glanced over Moeneeb Josephs in goal for Bidvest Wits. Bidvest also had their chances but Ifeanyi Anaemena, Isiaka Oladuntoye and goalkeeper Fatau Dauda ensured it remained goalless at half time.
The second half saw more zest than the first with both sides going for an early breakthrough. The South Africans forced two early saves off Fatau Dauda before Enyimba replied, pushing them back into their half.
There was an injury scare in the 60th minute involving Enyimba midfield maestro Ikechukwu Ibenegbu who was quickly taken off and replaced by Chinedu Udeagha.
Bidvest had a man sent off in the 68th minute when Edwin Gyimah was shown a straight red for a bad tackle on Austin Oladapo.
Oladapo had a penalty saved by substitute goalkeeper Kyle Peters in added time after Freedom Omofoman was brought down in the box.
It thus ended goalless and the result sees Enyimba go through to the group stages on the away goal rule.
Enyimba Starting XI: Fatau Dauda, Andrew Abalogu, Ifeanyi Anaemena, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Ikouwem Udo, Farouk Mohammed, Austin Oladapo, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu (Chinedu Udeagha), Stephen Chukwude, Abdulrahman Bashir, Chinonso Okonkwo (Freedom Omofoman)
Unused subs: Theophilus Afelokhai, Ernest Governor, Uche John, Wasiu Alalade, Ugochukwu Leonard
Bidvest Wits Starting XI: Moeneeb Josephs (Kyle Peters), Buhlebuyeza Mkhwanazi, Bongani Khumalo, Daine Klate, Eleazar Rodgers, Keegan Ritchie, Daylon Claasen (Thabang Monare), Thobani Mncwango, Reeve Frosler, Sifiso Myeni (Elias Pelembe), Edwin Gyimah
Unused subs: Lehlohonolo Majoro, Maliele Pule