Nigerian club Rivers United score vital Caf Confederation Cup win

football25 February 2024 22:10
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Confederation Cup trophy © BackpagePix

Nigerian club Rivers United beat Academica Lobito 3-2 in Angola on Sunday to score a first Caf Confederation Cup away win this season, and keep alive hopes of a quarterfinals place.

After a qualifying draw with Etoile Filante of Burkina Faso and group losses to Dreams of Ghana and Club Africain of Tunisia in other away games, Rivers had a timely change of fortune.

Victory in Luanda kept Rivers third in group C, three points behind Dreams, but they host the leaders in the final round next Sunday.

Rivers fell behind against Lobito before three goals in eight minutes either side of halftime from Ekerette Udom, Alex Oyowah and Farouk Mohammed turned the tide in favour of the visitors.

Dreams edged former African champions Club Africain 1-0 in Kumasi thanks to a 50th-minute goal from Godfred Atuahene, his second of the campaign.

Debutants in the African equivalent of the Uefa Europa League, Dreams have 12 points from five matches, Club Africain and Rivers nine each and Lobito none.

Club Africain finish with a home fixture against Lobito and there is a good chance that all three contenders for two last-eight places will end with 12 points.

Should that situation occur, tie-breakers will kick in with points gained in matches between the trio the first, followed by goal difference, goals scored and away goals.

While the group is set for an intriguing climax, with the matches in Tunisia and Nigeria kicking off simultaneously, the list of qualifiers for the quarterfinals grew from two to five.

Title-holders USM Alger of Algeria and Zamalek of Egypt qualified two months ago and they were joined on Sunday by Renaissance Berkane of Morocco, Stade Malien of Mali and Abu Salim of Libya.

Berkane twice, USM, Zamalek and Malien have all won the second-tier African club competition while Salim are through to the knockout stage at the first attempt.

USM suffered a first loss in defence of the title, falling 2-1 away to Al Hilal of Libya behind closed doors in Group A as the hosts are serving a two-match ban for unruly fan behaviour.

The USM defeat left Zamalek and Berkane as the only clubs boasting unbeaten records in a competition that has been dominated by North African teams with 15 triumphs in 20 finals.

A Nasser Mansi brace gave Zamalek a 2-1 Group B win over Abu Salim while Berkane drew 0-0 with 10-man Sekhukhune United of South Africa in group D.