Bayelsa, ENPPI revive Confederation Cup hopes

BAYELSA United of Nigeria and ENPPI of Egypt claimed their first African Confederation Cup group victories at the weekend to revive flagging hopes of semifinals places.

BAYELSA United of Nigeria and ENPPI of Egypt claimed their first African Confederation Cup group victories at the weekend to revive flagging hopes of semifinals places.

United trounced Primeiro Agosto of Angola 4-0 in Oghara while two-goal Ahmed Raouf steered ENPPI to a 3-1 victory over Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Cairo.

Entente Setif of Algeria surrendered their 100 percent record when losing 1-0 to Santos in Angola while surprise package Stade Malien of Mali came from behind to hold Harras al-Hodoud to a 1-1 draw in Egypt.

Title favourites Setif still lead Group A on goal difference from Santos with both teams collecting six points from three outings, while ENPPI and Vita have three each. Stade, the first Malian club to reach the mini-league phase of an African Football Confederation competition, top Group B with five points, Harras and Primeiro have four each and Bayelsa three.

The second-tier Confederation Cup follows a similar format to the African Champions League with a six-round group phase followed by two-leg semi-finals and final.

After a shock home loss to Stade two weeks ago, 2009 Nigerian champions Bayelsa had to win against previously unbeaten Angolan military club Primeiro and were ahead within seven minutes through Mannir Ubale.

Osas Okoro doubled the advantage before half time in southeast Nigeria with his third goal of the competition and Chibuzor Okonkwo and Ahmed Kadiri were on target in the second half.

Ahmed Abdelghani converted a 38th-minute penalty for Harras in the ancient Mediterranean city of Alexandria only for Bakary Coulibaly to bring Stade level on 73 minutes via his third goal in two games.

Saul struck seven minutes from full time to give Santos maximum points and maintain hopes of reaching the knockout phase of a competition offering a R5,3million first prize.

Raouf opened and closed the scoring in Cairo with Mozambican Mano the other ENPPI marksman while Patrick Etimi struck early in the second half for two-time African Champions League winners Vita.

The fourth series of matches at the end of this month will feature the same pairings, but with home advantage reversed. - Sapa-AFP

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