Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi defeated ASEC Mimosa of Cote d’Ivoire 2-0 on Saturday in Enugu in the 2018/2019 CAF Champions League, but still crashed out of the competition.
In both sides’ final Group A game, played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, Siriku Alimi scored in the 3rd and 40th minutes to give the home team a 2-0 win.
But as hosts Wydad AC of Morocco beat South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 for both sides to finish with 10 points each in the group’s other match, Lobi Stars’ win was futile.
While Wydad and Mamelodi Sundowns picked the group’s two quarter-final tickets, Lobi Stars and ASEC Mimosa crashed out after garnering seven points each.
Speaking after the match in Enugu, Lobi Stars’ Technical Adviser Solomon Ogbeide said he was still proud of his players’ performance in spite of their non-qualification.
“I am highly elated with my team’s performance because one thing here is that we played against champions and crashed out with huge experience.
“Every challenge is a lesson, either in victory or defeat, and it is a thing of honour to have contested with the champions.
“Moreover, the lesson we learnt from this continental league will be of help to us and when next we participate, we are going to do better,” Ogbeide said.
He however rued his team’s missed chances after the interval, saying they could have increased the tally to more than two goals.
In his reaction, ASEC Mimosa’s Amani Yao said they were happy to have played well against the Nigerian champions.
He said they were bowing out of the competition honourably, notwithstanding the match’s outcome.
“When you did not qualify, that means you did not have what it takes to qualify and that is what I noticed today from the two teams that crashed out,” he said.