Enugu Rangers ended their campaign in the Caf Confederation Cup on a disappointing note on Sunday; losing their final group game in the competition 0-1 against CS Sfaxien at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.
Nassim Hnid struck in the 73rd minute to condemn Rangers to their second successive home defeat against a Tunisian opposition.
Rangers already had their backs against the wall going into Sunday’s tie and needed a victory to have any chance of progress with the Black and Whites who had already sealed their place in the last eight even before boarding the plane to Nigeria.
Coach Olugbenga Ogunbote named the duo of Ajani Ibrahim and Pape Sane in his starting line up having missed the duo in the last away tie against Salitas.
Ajani was a welcome addition up front for the Nigerians while Sane was meant to help tighten things at the back where Rangers have not fared well enough compared to the other teams in Group B.
The Flying Antelopes expectedly started on the front foot hoping to get a quick opening goal but that never came as the Black and Whites were solid at the back and repelled on the attacks made by the desperate Nigerian side.
Rangers’ Godwin Aguda had the first attempt of the day in the fifth minute but his right-footed shot from outside the box went off target.
Bright Silas also tried to give the home side the lead but his effort was also blocked and Sfaxien responded with a fair chance of their own as Kouadio Manucho forced a save off the Rangers keeper Nana Bonsu in the 10th minute.
Rangers had another bright chance to take the lead in the 24th minute but the connecting header by Emmanuel Madu in the centre of the box was a bit too high.
Gradually, the minutes were ticking away and the much sought after opening goal never game as the first half ended in a stalemate after the last attempt by George Ifeanyi from outside the box saw was saved by the Sfaxien keeper.
Despite already being assured of a place in the quarter-final, Sfaxien never took their feet off the pedal as they were all out to preserve their unbeaten run in the group phase.
Rangers continued their press for the opener in the second half with Ajani running the show for the Nigerian team and he was fouled by Omar Bouraoui in the 53rd minute which resulted in the first booking of the game.
Rangers' supporters were left heartbroken in the 73rd minute when their already bad situation was made worse when a header from Nassim ended in the top right corner of the net to give the visitors the lead.
Pascal Seka and Kevin Itoya were introduced into the game to help salvage the situation for Rangers and though they tried, the Flying Antelopes could not get an equaliser let alone the victory they had promised to sign off with.
With Sunday’s result, the Nigerian flag bearers finished in the third position in Group B with five points while CS Sfaxien topped the group with 12 points.