Alex Oyowah inspires Rivers United to Confederation Cup group stage

Alex Oyowah inspires Rivers United to Confederation Cup group stage
Credit: Icon Sport

Alex Oyowah was the star of the show as Rivers United defeated Etoile Filante at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in their CAF Confederation Cup leg 2 Round 2 game on Sunday. 

The Pride of Rivers played in the quarterfinals of this competition last season and they held Etoile Filante away at Yamoussoukro in the first leg which ended goalless.

Rivers United were aware of the work to be done and having seen other Nigerian sides crash out before now, fought really hard to get past the stubborn Burkina Faso side.

On the other hand, Etoile Filante knew the job would be difficult at the home of the former Nigerian champions and they tried their best to disrupt the party and book their place in the group stage of this season’s CAF Confederation Cup.

Rivers United vs Etoile Filante: How it all happened

Stanley Eguma's team have not kicked off their campaign on the home front because of their continental engagements and they did not get things running in the first leg because of their inactivity.

Meanwhile, Etoile Filante have already played six competitive games across two competitions this season ahead of this clash with one loss recorded. However, Rivers United were favourites to progress and they did just that but it was a tough one.

The opening ten minutes of the game produced no shots on target and just ten minutes later, the Pride of Rivers got a chance to go in front from the spot after Nyima Nwagua was brought down in the area. Defender Endurance Ebedebiri missed from the resultant spotkick.

The impressive Alex Oyowah kept doing his job in midfield, sent a lovely through pass to Nyima but the striker was flagged off. The visitors were quite rash with their challenges as Kader Sana became the second Etoile player to be booked.

Rivers United were forced into a change just before the break when Liberian winger Mark Gibson was sent on in place of Williams Ukeme. On the other hand, the late pressure at the end of the first half did not yield a goal despite a number of corners for the home side. In the end, the referee blew for halftime.

Alex Oyowah’s brace and more penalties

Midfielder Farouk Mohammed was the first Rivers United player to test the visitor’s goalie after the break with his long range attempt being tipped over. The resultant corner kick was well cleared as well.

Rivers United kept things going and were desperately searching for the game’s opening goal. Minutes after the hour mark, the home side were awarded a second penalty of the evening and Sana, who was the culprit, was sent off after receiving his second booking of the game.

For the second time in the game, Rivers United could not convert from 12 yards as Mohammed’s attempt went off the upright and out of play.

The visitors were holding forth while they also kept racking up the cards with sights on the full time whistle and potential penalty shootout. 

Cometh the hour, cometh the man – Alex Oyowah – as the former Bayelsa United midfielder scored a well taken goal to hand Rivers United the lead with a minute to go. 

Deep into stoppage time, Chiamaka Madu was fouled in the box and the referee did not hesitate to point to the spot for the third time in the game. Oyowah stepped up and duly converted to seal his side’s win and progression.

Rivers United will play in the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup for the second consecutive season and Nigeria’s only representative in the competition this campaign.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

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