How Rivers Failed To Flow in Tunisia

How Rivers Failed To Flow in Tunisia

BY SAMMY WEJINYA

 

Nigeria’s Rivers United had a shaky beginning as the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup got underway at the weekend. No thanks to the 3-1 loss inflicted by Club Africain.

The score line put the Nigerian side trailing third in a group of four teams as another North African side, FUS Rabat beat Uganda’s KCCA by three goals to nil to take an early lead of the group.

The Nigerian club failed to hit expected heights in the first half as the Tunisians deservedly took a 2-0 lead into the break courtesy of goals from Ifa Bilal who rose highest to head home a corner and Oussama Darragi who converted a penalty with frightening force on the stroke of half time to extend the hosts’ advantage.

The Pride of Rivers stormed back after the break and pulled a goal back through new boy, John Odumegwu who struck a precise effort into the far corner from the edge of the penalty area past the Club Africain goal keeper Faruk Ben Mustapha.

With United on the ascendancy and looking the more likely of the two sides to claim the game’s next goal, disaster struck as Joseph Douhadji scored an own goal to restore Club Africain’s two-goal cushion.

Emeka Ogbugh missed a penalty with just over 11 minutes remaining as the Tunisians closed out a crucial win.  Coach Stanley Eguma addressed the media after the defeat insisting that there were positives to draw from the defeat.   “We did not find our feet in the first half and conceded two goals,” he said at the post match press conference captured by www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

“In the second half, we corrected our mistakes and scored a goal. We got a penalty and if we had converted it, it would have made a lot of difference as my boys would have pushed for the equalizer,” he said.

Head coach of Club Africain, Chibeb Ellili also voiced his sentiments after the pulsating contest decided at the Stade Olympique de Radès, Radès.

“Rivers United was fresher than us in the second half because I had four players who had not played for a long time in the team.

“The fitness was not there in the second half. Also, Rivers United had nothing to lose in the second half and they have a lot of fast players with and without the ball,” he said.

Rivers United will next meet table topper, FUS Rabat,  in Port Harcourt on May 24.

 

Group A

P    W    D    L     F    A   GD     Pts

FUS Rabat       1     1     0     0    3    0     +3       3

Club Africain  1      1     0     0    3   1      +2       3

Rivers United 1      0     0    1    1    3      -2       0

KCCA              1      0     0    1      0     3    -3     0

 

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