CAF Champions League: Plateau, Rivers United progress into last round of qualifiers

The two Nigerian teams in the CAF Champions League, Plateau United and Rivers United, have successfully navigated through the preliminary round of the competition.

Having secured impressive results in their respective first leg ties last weekend, the two teams consolidated on those results in Sunday’s second leg games.

At the M.K.O Abiola Stadium, the adopted home ground for Plateau United, the Peace Boys, as they are fondly called, secured a 1-0 win over Stade Mandji of Gabon.

A wonderful header from Haggai Katoh courtesy of a long throw by Daniel Itodo ensured Plateau United progressed with a 3-2 aggregate scoreline, having held their hosts to a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Gabon.

The passage means Plateau United face the herculean task of beating four-time African champions Esperance of Tunisia, who won successive titles in 2018 and 2019 to qualify for the lucrative group stage of the Champions League.

Rivers United, reigning NPFL champions, also made it out of the preliminary stage despite losing to Liberian outfit Watanga FC 1-0 on Sunday.

Watanga attempted to mount a fightback as Farsedu Logan’s spot kick put them in front in the 17th minute

However, the Garden City team who had won last weekend’s first leg tie 3-0 held on to progress 3-1 on aggregate.

But like Plateau United, Rivers United also have a mountain to climb as they are up against title-holders -Wydad Casablanca of Morocco-for a place in the group stage.

Wydad boasts an outstanding record in the flagship African club competition.

Since Enyimba won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004, no other Nigerian team has come close to delivering a continental title.