CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United pip USM Alger in Uyo

Rivers United FC of Nigeria on Sunday secured a narrow victory over the USM Alger of Algeria in the Totalenergies CAF Confederation match in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

They pipped the visitors by a lone goal in their first leg quarter-finals match at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

The Garden City darling team took the match to their opponents from the kick-off and scored their only goal in the eight minute through Okejepha Augustine.

They, however, failed to increase the tally as they missed several scoring chances through poor finishing.

Speaking during the post match briefing, Coach Stanley Eguma of Rivers United said the scoreline did not reflect the standard exhibited by his boys during the game.

Eguma also attributed the low scoreline to over-anxiety by his players, adding that though they played well, they got lost at the vital point of scoring goals.

He said: “We had a very good game at the beginning of the match and we scored within the first 10 minutes of the game.

“We played with high intensity to ensure that we pressed them down, which yielded the early goal in the game.

“One would have expected that the boys would continue that way because we had a lot of scoring chances early in the game.

“Unfortunately, we could not convert our chances.

“We rightly out classed them in the game because we had a lot of ball possession. 

“We matched them on counter-attacks to increase the tally but, unfortunately, we could not.

“The scoreline did not reflect the standard of the game we played today.

“The players created a lot of chances but over-anxiety affected them. 

“They lost their heads when they got to the vital point and that made us have a very low scoreline today.”

According to Eguma, the team will go to Algiers with the determination to put more efforts to win the game in their second leg, irrespective of the strength of USM Alger.

Similarly, the Coach of USM Alger, Juan Fernandez, said though his boys played good football, they could not perform very well due to the Ramadan fast.

He said the time of the match (2pm) was also not conducive for the players due to high humidity.

Fernandez said: “Today, as we expected, it was a very difficult match because of the quality of our opponent.

“We respect them a lot.

”They played a good match and scored one goal.

“I congratulate them.

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“We played the game during Ramadan, where we neither eat nor drink.

“And, of course, the condition of play today was not favourable to us.”

Fernandez said the players would play their return match with more determination to win and move to the next level of the competition.

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