Nigeria’s only Continental Cup campaigners, Rivers United on Sunday almost certainly gave up the chance of progressing to the quarter-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup with a 2-0 defeat at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt against Tunisia’s Club Africain.
Mannoubi Hadded scored Club Africain’s first goal while Rivers United captain Festus Austin conceded a late own goal.
Second choice goalkeeper, Femi Thomas started in goal in place of injured Rotimi Sunday and made a positive impression saving the blushes of the ‘Pride of Rivers’ in the early stages.
Ayo Saka and Bolaji Sakin went closest to scoring for Rivers United in the first half, first Saka wasting a great chance in the 28th minute with a tame shot and Sakin’s header in the 40th minute going off target even from close range.
The North Africans created the first chance of the second half in the 47th minute but their goal came fifteen minutes later, in the 62nd minute, when a cracking freekick from 20 year-old Hadded deflected off Sakin in the four-man wall and flew into the Rivers United net.
Bernard Ovoke embarked on a solo run with fourteen minutes left on the clock but his final touch let him down and further agonised his coach and teammates on the bench after Godbless Asamoah went close earlier. The Ghanaian went off injured and was replaced by Ivorian Guy Kueiman.
Skipper Festus unluckily turned the ball into his own net to make it 2-0 for the north Africans in the 89th minute.
Seven minutes was added for time wasted but the Rivers United side could not redeem their miserable day.
They will face FUS Rabat on Friday who lost 3-1 to home side KCCA of Kampala also on Sunday.
FUS Rabat still have six points like Rivers United but the Nigerians are bottom of Group A.
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