NPFL champions Rivers United were impressive as they came from behind to defeat Moroccan outfit Wydad Casablanca in their CAF Champions League group stage playoff clash in Port Harcourt. The Nigerian side conceded first before scoring twice to edge their illustrious opponents.
After an impressive win over Liberian champions Watanga FC in the preliminary round, Rivers United proprietor and Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike promised the players a handsome reward of $40,000 each if they made it into the group stage of the competition.
The Pride of Rivers found themselves behind as Senegalese striker Sambou Junior opened the scoring for Morocco’s most decorated team after only 32 minutes of the encounter.
The home side responded to going behind brilliantly and took only two minutes to draw level as Malachi Ohawume dispatched an effort into the back of the net in the 34th minute as both sides went into the break level.
Only eight minutes had passed in the second half before Rivers United went ahead for the first time in the game. Joseph Onoja slipped a pass through to Paul Acquah who made no mistake in putting it past the goalkeeper in the 53rd minute.
The home side kept their opponents at bay to claim an important first leg win that puts them at an advantage heading into next week’s return leg in Morocco.
In Abuja, NPFL22 runners-up Plateau United claimed a shock 2-1 win over Tunisian giants Esperance in their CAF Champions League group stage playoff first leg. The Peace Boys demonstrated resolute defending to emerge with the win.
French-born striker Anice Badri opened the scoring for the Gold and Blood in the 27th minute as they went ahead away from home.
Plateau United drew level after 37 minutes as Daniel Itodo launched an effective long throw into the Tunisians’ area which was headed home by Ifeanyi Emmanuel.
The home side went in front for the first time before the halftime break as another long throw from Itodo was glanced home by Mustapha Yuga in first half added time.
The Peace Boys held on to claim an important first leg win going into their second leg clash against the Tunisian outfit next week.