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Drama kings Smouha leave it late against resilient Enyimba
Smouha were able to progress to the Round of 16 of the CAF Champions League for the first time in their history following their 2-0 win over Nigerian powerhouses Enyimba on Sunday night at the Alexandria Stadium.
Smouha XI: El-Mahdi Soliman; Yasser Ibrahim, El-Sayed Farid, Manso Kwaku, Ayman Ashraf; Ibrahim Abdel-Khalek, Ahmed Nabil ‘Manga’, Ahmed Shokry, Amr El-Menoufy (Hani El-Egeizy); Mohamed Maged, Hermann Kouao.
The Blues needed a win in order to progress having lost the first leg in Nigeria by a score of 1-0, and it looked like they were going to face elimination before Hani El-Egeizy and Hermann Kouao both netted goals in the final minutes of the game to win the tie – repeating a scenario similar to the one where they defeated Al-Ahli Tripoli in the Round of 64 on penalties, following a 1-1 aggregate draw.
Ahmed Nabil ‘Manga’ came agonisingly close to giving his side the lead inside 10 minutes, but his powerful shot hit the bar before going out.
Helmy Toulan’s men started the game off brightly, skipper and Egypt international Ibrahim Abdel-Khalek’s thunderous strike then slammed against the bar.
Three minutes later and they thought they had their first goal of the night when former Zamalek defender Yasser Ibrahim headed past Thomas Olufemi, but referee Slim Belkhouas flagged him for offside.
Abdel-Khalek had another chance to put his side in the lead, but his chipped strike went over the bar, much to the dismay of the Blues.
It was all one way traffic, and Smouha missed yet another chance to score, this time El-Sayed Farid’s header hit the the woodwork twice, before it fell to Amr El-Menoufy who missed an open goal.
Enyimba were reduced to 10 men just over 20 minutes from time when Kingsley Sokary was sent off for receiving two bookings.
The second half saw large periods of inactivity from either side until the 81st minute when Hani El-Egeizy’s finish from close range hit the post before going out.
Only one minute later and Smouha were awarded a penalty, which El-Egeizy converted to make up for his earlier miss and take the aggregate score to 1-1.
Just as the game looked like it would be heading ot penalties, former Sewe Sport forward Hermann Kouao finished past Olufemi to win the tie.