CAF Confederation Cup 2023.

Nigerian club Rivers United qualified for the CAF Confederation Cup group stage. Image by Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Despite missing two penalties, Rivers advances in CAF Cup

Nigerian club Rivers United secured a place in the CAF Confederation Cup group stage despite missing two penalties.

CAF Confederation Cup 2023.

Nigerian club Rivers United qualified for the CAF Confederation Cup group stage. Image by Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Nigerian club Rivers United booked a CAF Confederation Cup group stage place on Sunday 1 October 2023 despite missing two penalties in a 2-0 home victory over Burkina Faso outfit Etoile Filante.

Endurance Ebedebiri and Farouk Mohammed failed to convert spot kicks in Port Harcourt before Alex Oyowah came to the rescue with a late brace.

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Ten-man squad in the field

Etoile reduced to 10 men after a red card midway through the second half, held on until the 89th minute when Oyowah broke the deadlock.

When Rivers was awarded a third penalty at the death, Oyowah was handed the responsibility and made no mistake by rifling the ball high into the corner of the net.

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Rivers won the final-round qualifier 2-0 on aggregate after a goalless first leg in the Ivory Coast, the temporary home of Etoile, as they do not have an international-standard stadium. United are the only one of four Nigerian hopefuls to reach the group stage of a CAF club competition this season.

CAF challengers were eliminated

Fellow Confederation Cup challengers Bendel Insurance were eliminated on Friday after a 1-0 second-leg loss to two-time title-holders Renaissance Berkane in Morocco.

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CAF Champions League contenders Enyimba and Remo Stars suffered the embarrassment of preliminary-round exits.

Debutants Sekhukhune United from South Africa came from behind to hold Saint-Eloi Lupopo of the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-1 in Kinshasa and qualify 4-2 on aggregate.

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Lupopo struck first with Emmanuel Bola converting a 20th-minute penalty, and one more unanswered goal would have given them overall victory on away goals. But Sekhukhune levelled on 64 minutes through Tiklas Thutlwa and then survived late Congolese pressure.

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South Africa will have two clubs among the final 16 as SuperSport United trounced Gaborone United of Botswana 3-0 on Friday after a first-leg draw.

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Singida Fountain Gate, the last Tanzanian hopefuls in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League, fell 4-1 to 10-man Future of Egypt after taking a 1-0 lead into the return match.

The sending-off of Mahmoud Rizk when leading 2-1 did not deter the Egyptians, and Omar Kamal and Nasser Maher scored to clinch a second successive appearance in the group stage.

© Agence France-Presse