Enyimba of Aba Football Club on Wednesday night booked their place in the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederation Cup with a one-nil victory over Orlando Pirates who also qualified as second in the group behind the People’s Elephant.
The Nigerian side was rewarded in second-half stoppage time after a goalless 90 minutes when Super Eagles winger Anayo Iwuala’s low ball across the face of goal was turned home by Cyril Olisema for the only goal of the match which saw Enyimba finish top in the group.
Pirates were without Thulani Hlatshwayo and Happy Jele in defense for the match, while there was no goalkeeper named on the bench with both Richard Ofori and Siyabonga Mpontshane missing through injury.
The Buccaneers got off to a promising start as Vincent Pule rattled the crossbar with a free-kick from around 30 yards out after 13 minutes, with Enyimba shot-stopper John Noble well beaten.
Despite being the ones desperate for victory on the night, the Aba side had to wait until the 39th minute to force Pirates shot-stopper Wayne Sandilands into action.
Pirates were given a little scare at the end of the half when Mabasa was stretchered off, but the striker was able to return for the second stanza.
The Nigerian outfit came out firing in the second half and should have broken the deadlock on 65 minutes when Anayo Iwuala was left unmarked in the box, but the midfielder blazed over the crossbar from close range.
In order to protect what Pirates had, Zinnbauer threw on fresh legs for the final 10 minutes as Wayde Jooste replaced Siphesihle Ndlovu.
Enyimba almost snatched the winning goal in the 89th minute but Anayo sent his header wide of the upright at the far post.
Despite suffering defeat, Pirates still advance to the next round as runners-up in Group A after ES Setif defeated Al-Ahli Benghazi in the other group.