Enyimba and Wydad Athletic Club squared off in the first leg tie of their African Football League inaugural game at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Sunday night.
The People's Elephant were looking to redeem themselves in another continental competition having failed to make it past the first preliminary rounds of the CAF Champions League in August.
However, the NPFL defending champions lost at home 1-0 to Wydad AC from a first-half penalty, which was conceded by Enyimba‘s captain and goalkeeper, Ojo Olorunleke, and expertly converted by Yahya Jabrane in the 38th minute.
FT | The visitors nick the first leg by the odd goal
— Enyimba FC (@EnyimbaFC) October 22, 2023
Enyimba started a strong team which included breakout Flying Eagles midfielder Daniel Daga, with Joseph Atule and Mbaoma Chijioke in attack.
The two-time CAF Champions League winners started strongly but lacked cutting edge in the final third, and after going down 1-0 to the north Africans, their fight to level up the score ended fruitless.
And to make matters worse, Alalibo Somiari was shown a red card after a last-man tackle on Mountassir Lahtimi who was clear on goal after Chinedu Chilekwu gave away the ball in the third minute of added time.
Somiari was initially shown a yellow card, but after a VAR review, referee Alhadi Allaou Mahamat upgraded the card to a red.
The win over the Elephants ensured that the Moroccan side extended their unbeaten run across all competitions to eight games, with four straight victories in their last four.
Enyimba will travel to Morocco for the return leg which takes place next Wednesday, the aggregate winner will march on to the semi-finals of the African Football League.
Enyimba vs Wydad AC confirmed lineups
Enyimba: Ojo (GK); Awazie, Somiari, Okechukwu, Chilekwu; Nnachi, Daga, Ekwutoziam, Innocent; Atule, Chijioke.
Subs: Cooper, Eriugo, Obot, Ozoemena; Asuquo, Chibueze, Nduku, Eze; Ngomere, Okachi, Owen, Yakubu.
Wydad AC: Motie (GK); Attiyat, Amloud, Harkass, Aboulfath; Jabrane, Draoui, Bahri, Houni, Ahannach, Boussefiane.
Subs: Bah, Maftah, Brahim, Chetti; Farhane, Haimoud, Bouhra, Lahtimi; Ounajem, Mahrous, Regragui, Serrhat.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago