Enyimba coach Fatai Osho says ‘tiredness’ was responsible for his side’s 4-1 thrashing at Egyptian outfit Pyramids in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final fixture on Sunday.
Striker Victor Mbaoma gave the 2-time African champions a dream start, scoring after just 53 seconds, but the hosts – losing finalists in the competition last season – levelled through former Stoke City forward Ramadan Sobhi on 15 minutes, as the first half ended 1-1.
A catalogue of defensive errors in the second half saw Osho’s men concede three goals to leave their hopes of reaching the last four hanging precariously on a thread.
After the match, the former Remo Stars coach said Enyimba, who rested several key players a week ago against Rangers International in a bid to face Pyramids with a fresh squad, showed ‘tiredness’ and struggled with movement, which resulted to the embarrassing first leg loss.
“We had our game plan and going into the game, they stuck to it,” Osho, who guided Enyimba to the quarter-finals of the competition last season, said. “We saw a lot of promises in the first half. We almost had a chance to go ahead in that first half.
“In the second half, I think we lost it when we started noticing a lot of tiredness. They started playing out of shape. They exposed themselves a lot, and the Pyramids team really punished us. In that area, we could have been more tidy.
“But we noticed a lot of tiredness, and you see a lot of people (Enyimba players) were not really moving, and it becomes a problem. And that informs why we lost this way.”
The People’s Elephant will need a remarkable comeback to overturn the huge deficit and advance to the semi-finals, when both sides clash in the second leg at the Enyimba International stadium on Sunday, 23 May, 2021.