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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 November, 2004, 16:23 GMT
Esperance 1-1 Enyimba
Enyimba players clebrating
Enyimba's players will once again be celebrating
Nigeria's Enyimba have reached the final of this year's African Champions League with a 6-5 win over Tunisia's Esperance on penalties.

Sunday's game at the El Menzah stadium in Tunis ended at 1-1 to make the aggregate score 2-2 with both sides having scored an away goal.

The win for the reigning champions came when Benin international midfielder Muri Ogunbiyi converted his spot kick to edge the champions ahead in the penalty shoot out.

Tunisian defender Zied Bhairi then blazed his spot kick over and the legendary 'Blood and Gold' were eliminated.

The result was heartbreaking for Esperance, who also lost at the semi-finals stage of the competition in 2001 and last year after being runners-up in 1999 and 2000.

Few neutral observers gave Enyimba a chance after mediocre recent form, a lack of fire power in attack, and the refusal of consistent scorer Ndidi Anumnu to travel after being left out of the starting line-up lately.

Enyimba coach Okey Emordi boldly vowed to attack in North Africa and kept his promise, packing midfield with offensive players and although they created few clearcut chances were unlucky to trail 1-0 at half-time.

In a rare slick move on a pitch badly cut up by rain, Jose Clayton, Issam Jomaa and Kamel Zaiem combined to set up striker Ali Zitouni, who sidefooted the ball past goalkeeper Victor Enyeama with 43 minutes gone on a cold, overcast afternoon.

Enyimba increased the pressure in the second half and deservedly levelled in the 60th minute when David Tyavkase turned, ran at retreating Tunisian defenders and scored with a low shot past Jean-Jacques Tizie into the corner of the net.

The Nigerians appeared more likely to break the deadlock until substitute Skander Souayah squandered a good chance for Esperance deep in stoppage time, hitting the side netting when unmarked inside the penalty area.

Emordi took off Nigeria first choice Enyeama three minutes into stoppage time, replacing him with Dele Aiyenugba, who saved spot kicks from Zied Triki and Zaiem while Souayah and Bhairi missed.

Enyimba are seeking to become only the second club after 1967 and 1968 winners Tout Puissant Englebert of the Democratic Republic of Congo to successfully defend the title.


SEE ALSO
Esperance hold Enyimba
30 Oct 04 |  African
Enyimba through to semis
16 Oct 04 |  African
Esperance 2-0 SuperSport
26 Sep 04 |  African
2004 Champions League
28 Feb 03 |  African



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