The Nigerian champions were close to getting the draw that their excellent performance merited, but fell to a defeat at the death
Al Ahli Benghazi battled to an entertaining 4-3 victory over 2023 Nigerian Professional Football League winners Enyimba International in the first leg of their first round CAF Champions League qualifiers.
Enyimba scored three crucial away goals but succumbed to a late sucker punch from the North Africans.
The People’s Elephant started the match brightly and took the lead after only three minutes through veteran forward Mbaoma Chijioke.
The visitors’ lead lasted for only eight minutes, though.
And shortly before the halftime break, it was 2-1 to the Libyans as Imo Obot unfortunately put through his own goal.
Enyimba, however, refused to surrender the initiative to Al Ahli Benghazi and in the 59th-minute, the nine-time Nigerian champions drew level courtesy of an Eze Ekwutoziam strike.
Again, Enyimba fell behind in the 75th-minute only for Murphy Ndukwu to scored four minutes from time to make it 3-3 for the George Finidi-tutored side.
And when the Aba-based club thought they had the draw all wrapped up, Al Ahli Benghazi struck deep into stoppage time to send the home fans at the Martyrs of February Stadium into delirium.
Despite the defeat, Enyinba will be pleased with their attacking display in Benghazi.
Both teams will meet for the second leg of the encounter next weekend at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba.
Victory will see Enyimba advance to the second preliminary round where they will face the winner of the tie between Coton Sport Ouidah and ASEC Mimosas.