Rivers United put themselves in a comfortable position to qualify for the playoff round of the CAF Confederation Cup after they outscored their host, Bloemfontein Celtic 2-0 in the first round, first leg tie played at the Dr Rantlai Petrus Molemela Stadium Wednesday evening.
Shortly before the start of their game in Bloemfontein, Enyimba had lost 3-0 to Al Merreikh of Sudan in Omdurman but Rivers United were untroubled as they matched their host in all departments of the game.
The game ended goalless in the first half but Rivers United got the curtain raiser through Godwin Aguda in the 52nd minute for his third goal of the competition from three games.
Rivers United kept the game under wrap with the second goal from Fortune Omoniwari with about 10 minutes to the end of the game to ensure that they go into the second leg on January 6, 2021 as clear favourites.
It was Rivers United first clean sheet of the competition this term having conceded three goals from both games with Futuro Kings of Equatorial Guinea in the preliminary round.
By virtue of the away win Rivers United will get four million naira windfall of former Rivers State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, Felix Obuah who promised them two million naira for an away victory and N200,000 for each goal scored.
Meanwhile in the CAF Champions League, Enyimba put themselves in a precarious position ahead of the first round, second leg tie after they were mauled 3-0 in the first leg tie played on Wednesday at the Al Hilal Stadium, Omdurman.
Plateau United and Kano Pillars were eliminated in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup in the preliminary rounds to Simba SC of Tanzania and ASC Jaraaf of Senegal while Enyimba and Rivers United barely managed to scrape through to the first round with unconvincing victories over Rahimo SC of Burkina Faso and Futuro Kings of Equatorial Guinea.
Nigerians were expecting Enyimba to exert their revenge on Al Merreikh whose Sudanese counterparts, Al Hilal booted them out of the same competition last season at the same stage but they have put their qualification to the group stage into jeopardy after they were thrashed 3-0 in Omdurman.
Enyimba’s lack of coordination in defence led to the three goals and it was Saif Terry that benefitted with a solid hat-trick in the sixth, 44th and 90th minutes to ensure that Fatai Osho’s led side go into the return leg on January 6th, 2021 in Aba with a mountain to climb.
Enyimba also got to this stage of the CAF Champions League last season but were ousted by Al Hilal 1-0 before they progressed to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup after beating TS Galaxy of South Africa in both legs.
They last played in the group stage of the Champions League in 2016 when they were in the same group with Mamelodi Sundowns and Zamalek SC.