Enyimba International Football Club fell short of expectations on Sunday in Aba as they drew 1-1 with visiting Pyramids of Egypt to exit the 2020/2021 CAF Confederation Cup Competition.
Pyramids, who were runners-up in their debut continental appearance last year, advanced to the competition’s semi-finals for the second time in as many appearances and on a 5-2 aggregate.
After winning the first leg 4-1 in Cairo last weekend, the confident visitors added to their hosts’ worries when Ibrahim Adel gave them the lead after 32 minutes.
Anayo Iwuala’s equaliser eight minutes later in the quarter-final second leg match at Enyimba International Stadium was all the hosts could muster.
Pyramids will now face either Morocco’s Raja Casablanca or South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in the semi-finals, with the hopes of reaching another final at stake.
Knowing they needed at least three unanswered goals to turn the pairing in their favour, Enyimba started the game on an attacking note.
They consequently had numerous chances to take the lead, but for Pyramids’ goalkeeper Ahmed Elshenawy heroics.
He ran out to stop Anayo Iwuala with his feet from scoring after 12 minutes.
Elshenawy was the hero again in the 23rd minute when he brilliantly saved Ozor Felix’s shot from distance.
But, against the run of play, Pyramids took the lead after 32 minutes.
Adel who came from the bench to score a brace in the first leg utilised a defensive mistake to shoot brilliantly past John Noble and give the visitors the lead.
Elshenawy was forced to leave the field injured after 38 minutes, and just a couple of minutes later Enyimba found the equaliser.
That was when Iwuala sent in a scorcher of a shot, which substitute goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy could not stop.
Pyramids returned from the half-time break stronger and could have taken the lead twice after 55 minutes.
Islam Eissa’s shot was saved by Noble for a corner-kick, and seconds later Eissa sent in a cross which kissed the woodwork with Noble looking relieved thereafter.
Ahmed Fathy saved Pyramids from conceding a second goal after 72 minutes when he stopped Olisema Chinedu’s shot on the goalline.
Moments later, Ekramy brilliantly saved substitute Ibitham Orok’s rebound shot, while he was again there five minutes later to stop Orok’s shot from distance.
With time passing Enyimba looked desperate to find the needed goals, while Pyramids were happy to see the minutes running out, with their semi-finals ticket all but secured.