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CAF Confederation Cup

Rivers United claim early Confederation Cup advantage vs Al Masry

12:52 PM EST 11/28/21
Rivers United
The NPFL side have given themselves a major boost as they look at progress in Caf competition

Two goals in the space of ten minutes saw Rivers United put one foot in the group stage of the Caf Confederation Cup, following a 2-1 victory over Al Masry.

Playing at an adopted Enyimba Stadium in Aba, Rivers United put their new ‘home’ to good use as they saw off their Egyptian opposition on Sunday afternoon.

NPFL sides have found it difficult to topple North African sides in recent years, but there were to be no such troubles in this encounter.

Uche Onwuasoanya opened the scoring for the hosts after 25 minutes but the lead was short-lived as Masry responded in less than two minutes.

Mohamed Antar showed good pace after the restart and stunned the Nigerians with a quick-fire equalizer – and a crucial away goal that could yet mean a lot.

However, eager to reclaim their dominance, Rivers saw their pressure pay off once again as Kayode Ishaq reacted quickest to restore his side’s lead in the 35th minute.

Both sides would go on to enjoy several more chances in the game but the NPFL side managed to hold on to their lead and take home a much-deserved victory.

Victory for Rivers but job not done yet

In recent times, Egypt has not been a happy hunting ground for NPFL sides and it would be fool-hardy to think the tie is far from over.

In fact, Enugu Rangers are the last side to knock a North African side out of the Caf inter-club competitions – when they saw off Lesotho’s Bantu 4-2 on aggregate in the 2018-19 season to reach the group phase of the Confederation Cup.

While victory might come as a tough request, the mission for Rivers will be to avoid defeat at the very worst.

With a lot at stake in that clash, an early goal could be key – for either side – and could well determine who progresses to the next round.

Rivers might hold the advantage, but there is much work to be done when they travel to Egypt for the return leg against Masry on December 5.

Elsewhere, fellow NPFL side Enyimba had their clash against Libyan side Al Ittihad postponed due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

A new date for the rescheduled fixture is set to be announced in the coming days.

by Kolade Daniel