In football, they say it is not over until, the final whistle, but Nigeria’s Rivers United will have to do something extraordinary in the concluding leg of their CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinal tie against Young Africans of Tanzania to make it to the semifinal of the competition.

Playing at home, yesterday, in Uyo, the Pride of Rivers, Nigeria’s only surviving team in African inter-club competitions, were taught lessons on marksmanship by the Tanzanians, who scored two second-half goals to inch close to the semifinals of the competition.

The Tanzanian Premier League champions came into the game talking about vengeance because Rivers United beat them home and away in the same competition two years ago.

Most Nigerian thought the talks were just to psyche themselves up, but they showed in their composure and movement that a lot has happened since their last meeting with the Stanley Eguma-led Rivers United.

Rivers United had the best of the opportunities in the first half, but there were always signs that YANGA had surprises up their sleeves each time they ventured forward. And in the second half, there was no holding them back as they went for the kill.

Fiston Mayele scored two second-half goals for YANGA, who now have a massive advantage going into next weekend’s home tie in Dar es Salaam, where they will be staring at a first-ever continental semi-final appearance.

An excited YANGA Head Coach, Nasreddine Nabi, described the victory in Uyo as dream come through.

“I am delighted to win, because it is not easy to come to Nigeria and win. We played well and took our chances, but the game is far from over. We still have the second leg and we need to do even better to ensure we qualify,” he said.

Mayele silenced the Godswill Akpabio Stadium crowd in the 73rd minute when he was picked out by a brilliant through ball from skipper Bakari Mwamnyeto. The Congolese import ran to the pass before hitting it past the keeper first time.

The second goal came through the same route, with Mwamnyeto passing back a recycled ball from a set piece to Mayele, who made no mistake with the second goal.

Rivers had some chances too and their best fell on skipper Nwagua Nyima, who was put through on goal by Gideon Duru, but he could not guide the ball into the net with the keeper beaten at the back post.

Although the task now before Rivers United seems almost impossible, a 3-0 win in Tanzania will take them to the semifinals. It looks difficult, but it is also achievable.

Source link