Rivers United crash out of CAF Confederation Cup, USM Alger march on

Rivers United crash out of CAF Confederation Cup, USM Alger march on
Photo by Icon Sport

Rivers United‘s journey in the 2023/24 CAF Confederation Cup has come to an end after losing 2-0 to USM Alger in the second leg of their quarter-final tie on Sunday night.

Abdoulaye Kanou scored either side of the half to put USM Alger into their second semi-final in back-to-back seasons, while for the visitors, it's another heartbreak at this stage in succession.

The Pride of Rivers failed to utilize the many scoring opportunities that came their way during the first leg in Uyo last week, and they paid the price away in Algiers as their 1-0 advantage counted for nothing because the hosts did an efficient job to come out with a 2-1 aggregate victory.

USM Alger 2-0 Rivers United: How the match unfolded

Coach Stanley Eguma made one change to the side that won in Uyo last week. Farouk Mohammed replaced Abubakar Adamu.

USM Alger started brightly and could have scored inside the first ten minutes of the encounter but Akande Abiodun was alert in goal for Rivers United to make the save.

The hosts continued pressuring the visitors but Eguma's side remained resolute at the back. However, USM Alger took the lead eight minutes before the break as forward Abdoulaye Kanou cracked the defense line of Rivers United to level the scores 1-1 on aggregate.

Abdoulaye Kanou in action for USM Alger
Photo by Icon Sport

At the break, the hosts had nine shots at goal with six on target, while the Pride of Rivers registered seven shots with just one effort on target.

A one-sided second half

Having gone a goal down in the first-half, Rivers United were expected to try and mount a comeback, but instead it was USM Alger who continued from where they stopped.

Eguma replaced his captain Nyima Nwagwa with Andy Okpe to try and inject creativity and energy into his midfield who have failed to create clear-cut scoring chances.

Nonetheless, it was the hosts who doubled their lead through Kanou in the 74th minute to make matters worse for Rivers United.

Both coaches rang changes to see how the remaining time will work in their favour, but the affair became more and more difficult for the visitors who just couldn't direct their shots on target.

The reigning CAF Confederation Cup champions held on to win 2-0 in front of their home fans.

Rivers United registered zero shots on target in the entire second half, a performance not worthy of a place in the last four from the Port Harcourt side.

The 2022 NPFL champions will now focus on domestic action with six outstanding games awaiting them. On the other hand, USM Alger will face the aggregate winner between RS Berkane and Abu Salim SC in the semi-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Abdoulaye Kanou in action for USM Alger
Photo by Icon Sport

The Pride of Rivers are the last NPFL side on the continent this campaign after Enyimba, Remo Stars, and Bendel Insurance had all crashed out in the preliminary rounds.

Rivers United starting lineup against USM Alger

Akande Abiodun (GK); Kazie Enyinnaya, Ampiah Emmanuel, Farouk Mohammed, Anthony Ohaegbu; Ekerette Udom, Alex Oyowah, Ukeme Williams, Nyima Nwagwa; Augustine Okejepha, Deputy Echeta.

Subs: Victor Sochima, Ebedebiri Endurance, Mark Gibson, Odeh Paul, Samuel Antwi, Temple Emekayi, Andy Okpe, Mathias Samuel, Abubakar Adamu.

Rivers United next game

With continental involvement now done and dusted, Rivers United will resume league action next weekend having missed out in the last two match days.

Due to their engagement on the continent, the Pride of Rivers have a total of six outstanding games to prosecute in order to meet up with the number of games their NPFL counterparts have played this season.

Rivers United will host Katsina United at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt next Sunday in what will be their NPFL Round 30 fixture.

Currently in the relegation zone, a win for Eguma's side in the clash will be a good step in the right direction as the team looks to accumulate points and walk themselves out of the danger zone.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.