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CAF Champions League

Again, Nigerian club crash out of Champions League as Akwa crumbles in Algeria

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It’s again a familiar scenario as Nigeria’s lead flag bearer in the CAF Champions League, Akwa United crashed out in the opening round on Sunday night in Algeria.

The Nigerian champions lost 0-2 to Algerian Ligue 1 champions, Belouizdad to crash out on 2-1 aggregate.

Poor Akwa United! They put up stiff resistance to hold on their solitary lone goal win in the first leg.

But the resistance was broken in the 72nd minute by Hicham Khalfallah. While the game appeared to be heading to a likely lottery of penalty shoot-out, Chemseddine Nessakh took the game beyond the Nigerian champions with his strike six minutes to expiration of regulation time.  

Belouizdad will now face ASEC Mimosas in the second preliminary round after the Cote d’Ivoire  giants defeated Senegal’s Teungueth 2-0 on aggregate.

Nigeria’s other representatives in the competition, Rivers United advanced into the next round after overcoming Tanzania’s Young Africans 1-0 in Port Harcourt to secure a 2-0 aggregate victory.  The hosts waited for 82 minutes before  for Uche Onuwasonaya to break the deadlock.

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The next round of the Champions League games are scheduled to take place between Oct. 15 and Oct. 17, while the second leg will be from Oct. 22 to Oct. 24.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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