JOHANNESBURG – Former Orlando Pirates keeper Fatau Dauda put in a brilliant performance to help Enyimba claim a 1-1 draw against South African champions Bidvest Wits in a CAF Confederation Cup play-off round first leg tie in Johannesburg on Friday night.
Both goals came inside the opening five minutes, after which Dauda frustrated the hosts with a string of outstanding saves.
The match got off to a cracking start and Wits keeper Moeneeb Josephs was called into the action in the second minute when he kept out an Austin Oladepo shot after the Nigerian had done well to make space in the box.
The play then swung to the other end of the pitch and after a mistake in the Enyimba defence, Daine Klate pounced from close range to put the Clever Boys in front in the third minute.
But the lead was only to last two minutes as the visitors equalised when Abdulrahman Bashir played Ibrahim Mustapha through on goal and he slotted under Josephs and into the net.
Wits soon had chances to reclaim the advantage, but Thobani Mncwango missed narrowly with a header and Sifiso Myeni's volley was brilliantly saved by Dauda, all by the time, only 10 minutes were on the clock.
Enyimba also had a couple of opportunities as Mustapha fluffed a header in the 21st minute before a Bashir shot from range sailed harmlessly by.
There was another opening for Mncwango when Klate picked him out with a cross five minutes before the break, but again his header was off target.
Gavin Hunt's men continued to press for a goal after the restart and they had a Reeve Frosler effort cleared off the line by a defender, while Dauda - who had very brief spells at Pirates and Chippa United - was proving to be in inspired form as he kept out Eleazar Rodgers and Bongani Khumalo with two fine saves.
The closing moments saw play broken up by a head injury to Wits captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, while the Nigerians were also happy to run down the clock whenever possible.
This enabled them to hold on for the 1-1 draw with what could be a crucial away goal, ahead of the second leg, which takes place on Tuesday 17 April in Aba, Nigeria.
African News Agency (ANA)