The unexpected happened in Libya, yesterday. One of Nigeria’s CAF Confederation Cup representatives, Plateau United, went into the second leg of their last qualifying round for the group stage of the competition with a 4-1 lead over Libya’s Al Akdar FC. But at the end of 90 minutes, the Nigerian side could not hold on to that lead, as they crashed out of the competition on the away goal rule after losing 3-0.
The return leg of the tie at the Binena Stadium was supposed to be a mere formality following the heavy goal margin from the first match. And when the Fidelis Ilechukwu-coached team held the home team goalless in the first half, supporters of the Jos-based team started planning for the group stage.
But Al Akdar had other ideas. The cookie started crumbling for Plateau United early in the second half when the Libyans scored two quick goals. But the brace was not enough for the Libyans to kick Plateau United out of the competition. When the game dragged to 90 minutes, Nigerian prayed that Plateau United would restrict AL Akdar to the two goals. That didn’t happen.
With the game petering out in the added time, Plateau United, once again, lost concentration and allowed the Libyans to get the goal that tied the result at 4-4. Thus, Plateau United were knocked of the Confederation Cup on away goal rule.
The Jos side, who dropped from the more prestigious CAF Champions League to the Confederation Cup also on the away goal rule after drawing 2-2 with Esperance of Tunisia, will now concentrate on preparations for the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).