Enyimba International FC claimed a comfortable 3-0 win over Buffles du Borgou (BBFC) in a first leg preliminary round Caf Champions League tie in Aba on Sunday.
Daniel Etor, Kingsley Sokari and Peter Onyekachi all got among the goals to hand the two-time African champions a commanding lead ahead of the return leg in Parakou, Benin Republic, in a couple of weeks’ time.
The margin of victory does not reflect the largely one-sided proceeding at the Enyimba International Stadium, where coach Khadiri Ikhana’s side proved guilty of some speculative play in front of goal.
The Peoples Elephants could have buried the game in the opening half but a catalogue of misses after Etor’s 7th-minute opener had them proceed to the dressing room with just a 1-goal lead. Second half substitute Anaezemba Nzube made matter worse in the 78th minute, when he fired his spot kick over the bar after Onyekachi was hacked down in the visitors goal area.
But a clinical flourish by the Nigerian Federation Cup holders undermined their wastefulness early on, with Sokari and Onyekachi- in front of his U-23 team coach Samson Siasia- closing out a morale-boosting win to leave the Beninese with a heap to climb in the second leg.
Record Glo Premier League goal scorer Mfon Udoh was missing from Enyimba’s team sheet but Etor relieved much of the home crowd’s anxiety with an early goal to compliment his side’s bright start.
The forward tapped into an empty net after a good ball by Onyekachi down the left.
The visitors threatened to respond immediately but Tesso Charles could not direct his header at goal from an in-swinging cross from the left.
Nerves crept in for Ikhana’s team as Etor fired wide, BBFC goalkeeper Soffo Souradjou denied Andrew Abalogu from range and Onyekachi headed over the bar.
Onyekachi however had the ball inside the net from an offside position, six minutes after the half hour mark after Chinonso Okwonkwo dilly dallied in front of Souradjou in a one-on-one situation.
The goal blunders continued to heap up after the break with Okwonkwo firing straight at Souradjou having being picked out by Sokari and Etor blasting wide the rebound with an empty post gaping.
Anaezemba struck the woodwork from outside the area in the 53rd minute as Enyimba’s search for a second goal tarried.
Goalkeeper Chijioke Ejiogu was caught flat footed in the 70th minute but Idris Aloma was in hand to clear the ball off the line with his outstretched legs.
With seven minutes left to play for, an unmarked Sokari nodded home at the back post from Bright Essieme’s cross to double Enyimba’s advantage.
The long ball worked a second wonder for the hosts on the nick of full time, with Onyekachi thumping home Okonkwo’s cross to seal victory.