CAF Champions League: Can Nigerian duo Plateau and Rivers shine up North?

CAF Champions League: Can Nigerian duo Plateau and Rivers shine up North?
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Rivers United

Nigeria’s Plateau and Rivers United shocked giants Esperance and defending champions Wydad Athletic Club in the first leg of the  CAF Champions League matches last weekend, and will be keen to take the form up north and complete the jobs.

Both sides picked 2-1 victories at home and can complete the job by avoiding defeat in the away fixtures.

Rivers will be up against the holders on a tough stomping ground at the Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca. Wydad have been formidable at their home turf and they will be keen to overturn the result, pushed on by their passionate crowd.

But Rivers have vowed not to walk into the pitch with fear in their loins, but instead have said they will give a fight to make history for themselves.

Left back Ebere Duru, one of the standout players at Rivers said they will be keen to continue with the job they did in the first leg, insisting on teamwork and togetherness to push them beyond the odds.

“In the first leg, we had a lot of team spirit and determination and we knew what was a t stake. We came to fight and we got the desired victory,” Duru said.

“We believe that we can complete the job away from home. We will come all out and fight to the end. It is a game of 90 minutes and we will give our all. We know what we are going to face there, so we have prepared both physically and mentally,” he added.

He also notes; “Casablanca stadium is a tough one but we won’t allow it to affect our game plan.”

Rivers, a club founded in 2016 are keen to make their first ever group stage appearance, and what a story it would be if they do so against the defending champions.

Meanwhile in Tunisia, Plateau will also be up to the task of drowning a giant when they take on Esperance du Tunis, with a 2-1 lead from the first leg.

Just like Rivers, Plateau know what awaits them in North Africa, but are pumping in their confidence to ensure they are ready for the task ahead.

Skipper Daniel Itodo believes they have what it takes to cause an upset.

“I believe in the team and the coaches we have and I know we are going to cause an upset in Tunis and get a win. We are well prepared both physically, psychologically and spiritually ready for the task ahead, we know what we are going to face intimidation from their fans but we are ready,” he said.

Itodo has said the victory in the first leg was down to self belief and fighting spirit, especially noting they were first to concede.

“We fought till the end and that is what we are taking to Tunis. We are not ready to give up,” he adds.

In another interesting fixture this weekend, Ugandan champions Vipers SC will be up to make history by seeking their first ever ticket to the group stage of the CAF Champions League when they play Congolese giants TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi. The two sides played to a goalless draw in the first leg in Kampala last weekend.

Any scoring draw will be enough to take Vipers through. On a tough hunting ground, the Ugandans are keen to ensure they drown the giants.

Head coach Roberto Oliveira has charged up his team to ensure they step in and give their best.

“Some people have written us off after the first leg goalless draw but we are determined to give our best against on Saturday. It won’t be a walk in the park for TP Mazembe,” said the coach.

His sentiments are echoed by assistant captain Yunus Sentamu who says; “They have played in this competition for many years and also won it a number of times. But we have no option but to attack them because we need goals. Attack is the weapon we are going to use.”

First Leg Results

  • Rivers United FC (Nigeria) 2-1 Wydad AC (Morocco)
  • Plateau United FC (Nigeria) 2-1 E.S.T. (Tunisia)
  • ASN Nigelec (Niger) 0-2 Raja CA (Morocco)
  • US Monastirienne (Tunisia) 0-1 Al Ahly SC (Egypt)
  • Vipers SC (Uganda) 0-0 TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
  • La Passe FC (Seychelles) 0-7 Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
  • Asec Mimosas (Côte D’Ivoire) 0-1 Horoya AC (Guinea)
  • ASKO De Kara (Togo) 1-2 JS Kabylie (Algeria)
  • Djoliba AC de Bamako (Mali) 2-1 CR Belouizdad (Algeria)
  • Young Africans (Tanzania) 1-1 Al Hilal (Sudan)
  • Al Merrikh (Sudan) 2-0 Al Ahli Tripoli (Libya)
  • FLAMBEAU DU CENTRE(Burundi) 0-1 Zamalek SC (Egypt)
  • Cape Town City FC (South Africa) 0-3 Atlético Petroleos (Angola)
  • CD Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) 1-3 Simba SC (Tanzania)
  • Royal Leopards FC (Eswatini) 1:1 Coton Sport FC (Cameroon)
  • Rail Club du Kadiogo (RCK) (Burkina Faso) – AS Vita Club (DR Congo)

-CAF

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