By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Rivers United on Friday night ended their journey in the CAF Confederation Cup campaign with a crushing 2-1 defeat to FUS Rabat of Morocco at the Stade Di FUS in Rabat, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Bolaji Sakin scored in the 43rd minute but goals from Youssef El Gnaoui and Mohamed Fouzaire for the hosts to ensure the Moroccans join Club Africain to progress into the quarter-finals from Group A.
Club Africain defeated KCCA of Uganda 3-0 in Tunisia.
FUS Rabat had most of the chances to score in the first half against Stanley Eguma’s side.
Lamine Diakite turned brilliantly away from his marker but his goal-bound shot was cleared on the line by Ifeanyi Nweke in the fifth minute.
Rivers United’s goalkeeper Semiu Akande produced an eccentric piece of goalkeeping in the seventh minute when he dived forward and nodded away a straight freekick from the Moroccans.
Rivers’ Aliassou Sanou fouled FUS Rabat player, Zakaria Benlamachi in the 22nd minute but was lucky to avoid a yellow card on that occasion.
Ayo Saka gave away the balls in midfield but the Nigerian representatives scored a vital opener in the 44th minute through Sakin who scored with their first attempt on goal, pouncing on a loose ball after FUS keeper, Aymane Majid misjudged the flight of the ball.
The Rivers’ defence went to sleep, the back four pouring forward and exposing an impressive Akande. This allowed El Gnaoui to stab home an Ayoub Skouma cross in the 53rd minute.
The equaliser at this time handed KCCA the opportunity to qualify for the quarterfinals of the competition despite losing against Club Africain in their own fixture in Tunisia.
Zoumania Doumbia, the Ivorian player for Rivers got into the referee’s book for a rash challenge in the 60th minute, the first of the match though FUS’ Mehdi Khalis soon got himself into trouble for a foul on Ayo Saka.
Akande stretched well to keep out a great shot from El Gnaoui with 22 minutes left on the clock.
Defender Joseph Yaovi saved the blushes of Rivers United with a goal line clearance in the 73rd minute.
With the match winding down, FUS Rabat forward Benlamachi decided to throw away a white piece of cloth inside the Rivers’ net which perhaps he thought was reason they had not scored again.
Festus Austin was distraught after the referee awarded the hosts a penalty game following his handling of the ball. Keeper Akande was handed a yellow card for delaying the kick from the spot when he ran to the bench.
Fouzaire scored from the spot with three minutes left as he converted the penalty kick with a cheeky ‘panenka’ kick.
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