The four Nigeria representatives in the two tiers of the continental competitions for the 2022/23 campaign began their quest to the group stages of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup over the weekend.
Rivers United and Kwara United each recorded emphatic victories, while Plateau United and Remo Stars secured important away draws as the first preliminary round of both competitions kicked off on Saturday.
In the CAF Champions League, Plateau United played a 2-2 draw at Stade Mandji.
Plateau United, who finished second in the 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League campaign opened the qualifiers for Nigerian clubs in Gabon on Saturday.
Fidelis Ilechukwu’s men went 2-0 up just minutes into the first leg fixture of the CAF Champions League qualifier thanks to goals from Onyebuchi Ifeanyi and Mohammed Zulkifilu.
However, Plateau United couldn’t hold up to the lead as the Gabonese club scored twice ten minutes apart to level the scoreline in the encounter.
The first half of the encounter ended 2-2 at the Stade de Franceville.
Neither of the two sides could find the back of the net again in the second of the match as Plateau United walked away with an impressive two goals advantage going into the second leg.
In Port Harcourt, it took Rivers United just forty-five minutes to secure a 3-0 victory over Liberia’s Watanga FC.
The match was played at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium on Sunday evening.
Kenechukwu Agu fired the Nigeria champions into an early lead in the 8th minute of the first leg encounter of the first preliminary qualifying round of the CAF Champions League.
Ten minutes later, Ebube Duru’s 20 yards shot beat the Watanga FC goalkeeper to double ‘The Pride of Rivers’ lead before Paul Acquah headed Rivers United’s third goal into the net with only a few seconds away from the halftime whistle.
The first half ended 2-0 in favour of the reigning Nigeria Professional Football League champions.
Rivers United picked the game up from where they left it in the second half, maintaining dominance across all areas on the pitch.
But it was a different game in its entirety in the second forty-five minutes as the Liberian First Division champions went toe-to-toe with Rivers United to prevent another goal from finding the back of the net.
There was no goal in the second half of the game as Rivers United walked away with a three goals advantage in the bag going into the second leg.
In the CAF Confederation Cup Remo Stars secured an away draw against ASFAR.
Remo Stars recorded a surprising 1-1 draw in their first-ever appearance in a CAF interclub competition against an experienced ASFAR on Sunday night.
The hosts were the better side in the match but the determined debutants put everything on the line to secure a draw in Morocco.
Remo Stars started the first leg fixture against the stronger Moroccan side surprisingly composed and made an attempt from a freekick in the 22nd minute but the ASFAR defenders scrambled to clear the ball off the line twice.
The Sky Blue Stars soon fell apart when Borges headed the ball into the net from a chipped cross to put ASFAR ahead just before the half-hour mark.
Five minutes to the end of the first half, goalkeeper Bankole Kayode kept off a long-range shot to deny the hosts a second goal.
ASFAR went into halftime with a goal advantage.
Five minutes into the second half Adams Olamilekan headed home a corner kick to score a history-making equaliser for Remo Stars and their first-ever goal in any CAF inter-club competition.
ASFAR dominated the rest of the match in search of a winner but the rigid Remo Stars defenders did their job well, preventing the hosts’ efforts from resulting in a goal.
Remo Stars’ delay tactics worked as the encounter ended 1-1 at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat to record an impressive result and a vital away goal.
The return leg for the four matches will take place across various locations on Sunday 18th September 2022.
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