Akwa United, Rivers United off to good start in CAF Champions League

Akwa United players

Akwa United players

By Victor Okoye

Akwa United of Uyo pipped Algerian side CR Belouizdad 1-0 in Uyo, on Sunday, in the first leg of the CAF Champions League played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

Friday Ubong scored a late winner as he unleashed a powerful shot four minutes from the end of regulation time, to hand the Promise Keepers a crucial advantage going into the second leg next week.

The hosts dominated play but wasted a number of goal scoring opportunities in the game.

In another CAF Champions League game, Rivers United also squeaked past Tanzanian giants, Yanga SC, by 1-0 in the first leg of their CAF Champions League preliminary round encounter played at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on Sunday.

Moses Omodumuke scored for United to subject Timu ya Wananchi to a home loss as they returned to the continental stage for the first time, since they were eliminated by Zesco United in 2019.

Rivers United saw their first chance wasted in the fourth minute when Nelson Esor failed to beat Yanga’s goalkeeper Diarra Djigui from close range.

Another chance for the Nigerian side came in the 22nd minute when Eyinnaya Kazie outmanoeuvred the Yanga defenders and created a shooting space inside the box, but his efforts ended up hitting the side netting.

United could have conceded in the 25th minute, but Yanga’s Yacouba Sogne failed to plant the ball into an almost empty net when goalkeeper Victor Sochima failed to clear the danger from his area.

A combination between Omodumuke and Esor almost resulted in the opener but the former could not hit the target when he was set through on goal with a final pass by the day’s captain in the 39th minute.

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The visitors, who were dominant especially after the half-time break, found the back of the net in the 51st minute when Omodumuke was clinical enough to beat Yanga’s Djigui after failing to do so on a number of occasions in the first half.

United made a substitution a minute past the hour mark with Ishaq Kayode coming on for Auwalu Ali as they piled more pressure on Timu ya Wananchi looking for a second goal.

United’s 75th-minute counter-attack, where they had three players against Yanga’s one, failed to yield a positive result as Esor failed to beat the rival goalkeeper once again.

Yanga attacked and in the 84th minute almost registered an equaliser, but Sochima made a great save with his face to deny the home side from close range.

United stood firm in the remaining minutes to ensure they picked up a win and a crucial away goal in the first leg before hosting the Tanzanian giants on Sept. 19.

The return leg will take place next week Sunday at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt.

In other results, Egypt’s Al Ittihad Sports Club, in Zanzibar, managed to down KMKM FC 2-0 courtesy of goals from Moad Essa and Rabie El Shady.

Fasil Kenema FC and Al Hilal of Sudan produced a 2-2 draw in their respective Champions League encounter in Ethiopia.

The home side scored through the efforts of Bereket Desta and Okiki Afolabi as the visitors ensured they denied their rivals a win after finding the back of the net through Mohamed Abdelrahman and Yassir Mozamil.

Finally, Mogadishu City held Rwandan giants APR to a goalless draw in a game that was played in Djibouti. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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