Pyramids hold Enyimba to go to the semis


Last season’s runner ups Pyramids of Egypt reached the Total CAF Confederation Cup semifinals for the second time in as many appearances, after holding Nigeria’s Enyimba to a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Pyramids reached the semis winning 5-2 on aggregate after winning the first leg 4-1 in Cairo last weekend.

Ibrahim Adel gave the Egyptians the lead after 32 minutes, while Anayo Iwuala equalized for Enyimba eight minutes later at Enyimba International Stadium in Aba.

Pyramids, who reached the final in their maiden CAF appearance last season, will now face either Morocco’s Raja or South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in the semifinals, with the hopes of reaching another final at stake.

Knowing they need at least three unanswered goals to turn the score into their favor, Enyimba started the game on an attacking note and had numerous chances to take the lead, but for Pyramids’ goalkeeper Ahmed Elshenawy heroics.

He first ran to stop Anayo Iwuala with his feet from scoring after 12 minutes. Elshenawy was the hero again at the 23rd minute when he brilliantly saved Ozor Felix shot from distance.

And against the run of play, Pyramids took the lead after 32 minutes. Youngster Ibrahim Adel who came from the bench to score a brace in the first leg made use of a defensive mistake to score brilliantly past John Noble and give the visitors the lead.

Elshenawy was forced to leave the field injured after 38 minutes, and just a couple of minutes later Enyimba found the equalizer when Iwuala sent a scorcher that substitute keeper Sherif Ekramy could not stop. Both sides went to the break tied at 1-1.

Pyramids returned from the break stronger and could have taken the lead twice after 55 minutes. Islam Eissa shot was saved by Noble to a corner kick, and second later Eissa sent a cross that kissed the woodwork with Noble relieved.

Ahmed Fathy saved Pyramids from receiving a second goal after 72 minutes when he stopped Olisema Chinedu shot at the goal line, before Ekramy brilliantly saved substitute Ibitham Orok rebound shot. Five minutes later Ekramy was again there to stop Orok shot from distance.

With time passing Enyimba looked desperate to find the needed goals, while Pyramids were happy to see minutes running with their ticket in the semis all but secured.