MFM coach Fidelis Ilechuwku admits that the absence of forwards Sikiru Olatunbosun, Jesse Akila, Adebayo Waheed and defender Ademola Adeshola were felt despite his team's 1-0 win over Real Bamako in Wednesday’s Caf Champions League encounter.
Though Chijioke Akuneto's late header from Lawal Abayomi’s cross sealed a 2-1 aggregate win for the Lagos outfit, the gaffer rued the absence of his key players.
“Is it possible playing without Messi and you will not miss him or play without Ronaldo and you will not miss him. We missed our key players and we’re sad that they couldn’t play a part in the game,” Ilechukwu told Goal.
Ilechukwu introduced 17-year-old Abayomi for Abiodun Ayinde in the second half – a substitution that turned proved decisive.
“Abayomi, he is a fantastic player – one of the best young players. He has the heart and the mind, he has been waiting for his opportunity.
"He told me: ‘I want to play coach if I don’t’ play well, don’t play me again'.
“I told him we need to win and he delivered with a fine performance that gave us the win.”
Now through to the Champions League first round, MFM FC will trade tackles with MC Alger after the Algerian outfit demolished AS Otoho 9-0 to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit.
The Olukoya Boys will have to go past Bernard Casoni's side in their final hurdle of the preliminaries for a spot in the group stage.