Enyimba coach Usman Abd’Allah has said he is very optimistic the People’s Elephant will progress to the group stage of the 2019/2020 CAF Champions League despite playing out an uninspiring goalless draw at home against Sudanese giants, Al Hilal in the first leg of their first round tie on Sunday.
Two-time champions Enyimba missed a plethora of chances as 10-man Hilal, who had dangerman Nazar Hamid Hassir sent off after just 20 minutes for an off-the-ball incident, put up a great defensive shift to hold their hosts in Aba.
While expressing disappointment with the result, the soft-spoken tactician, who guided Enyimba to a record 8th Nigeria Professional Football League crown last season, expressed confidence his team will advance to the money-spinning stage of the competition.
“I think it is disappointing but this result is good,” Abd’Allah said in the post-match press conference. “It is not expected of us to play a goalless draw here. But all the same, I think the game is neither won nor lost yet.
“And I am sure I am going to qualify (for the group stage). I am sure I will get out of here, I will qualify.”
In the second leg, Enyimba will be guests of 2-time finalists Al Hilal at their 65, 000-capacity ground in Omdurman in a fortnight, with aggregate winners progressing to the group stage of the competition, while losers will drop down to the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup.