Seeing that Lobi had a 100% continental home record heading into this clash, Wydad arguably came in as slight underdogs. However, putting into consideration how North African sides have shown grit and character on the road in the Caf club competitions, it wasn't too much of a surprise when they took the lead through Mohamed Nahiri's early penalty. With this vital away win in the bag, WAC are firmly back in control of their Group A destiny.
Reality check for Lobi
Solomon Ogbeide’s men looked poised to make a statement when their continental campaign started last December in a bid to prove critics that they deserved to be in the Champions League. However, while this was a game they really needed to have won after losing at ASEC Mimosas last time out, their lack of desire and ambition compared to their visitors, was their biggest undoing. It’s now two straight defeats for the Nigerians, and Lobi’s qualification hopes are hanging by a thread.
Goalkeeper show stands out
Lobi Stars were largely disappointing, with their defence at sixes and sevens, but they did have goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode to thank, who saved his team beyond the blushes of the Nahiri penalty, which was needless in the first instance. When a second opportunity was provided for Wydad again from the spot, the former Akwa United man stood tall to keep it out and was astute throughout. It was the kind of performance that once again reflected the quality local league players possess, and supports claims that they should be integrated into the national team.
At the other end, Ahmed Tagnaouti was equally at his stellar best, preventing Ogbeide’s charges from finding the equaliser. Without him, it might have been a different story in Enugu, and the table might look a little different for Lobi.
Politics over football
This game was supposed to initially take place on Friday evening, but had to be shifted to Saturday due to a political rally that was held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. With the Nigerian general elections set to be held in a fortnight, various stadia across the country will be used for political activities. This means that football could be hindered, and Lobi Stars, being government-owned, won’t be left out.
Even though football deserves prominence due to its popularity, politics will always have a stronger say. This really shouldn’t be the case if the relevant bodies and personalities get their act together.
- Goal Kenya.
Mission impossible in Casablanca
The failure of Lobi Stars to make amends from their defeat to ASEC Mimosas has put them in a big mess. Indeed, it’s a tough job from here with a trip to Casablanca next week which is a must win.
That’s going to be very difficult, because Nigerian club sides have typically had a bad time in North Africa.
Barring a miracle in the Moroccan commercial capital, Stars should expect a third consecutive defeat.
Should Mamelodi Sundowns – who beat ASEC Mimosas in the other game in Pretoria – get a result in Abidjan, it could be effectively game over for Lobi, as they'd only have one home game left – against the Ivorians – to salvage their campaign.