Uche Onwuasonaya’s late goal at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium gave Rivers United of Port Harcourt a second leg victory against Young Africans of Tanzania at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
The superb victory sent the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) side to the CAF Champions League play-offs on a 2-0 aggregate win after beating the Tanzanian side 1-0 in the first leg at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salam.
After bagging a crucial away advantage last weekend, Stanley Eguma’s men waited until the 82nd minute for Uche Onuwasonaya to break the deadlock at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium.
Onwuasonaya, who is one of the best-attacking midfielders in the Nigeria Professional Football League proved why he made the Super Eagles squad play against Mexico in an international friendly recently in the United States, as he came off the bench to score the only goal of the match with superb performance.
The Pride of Rivers will now lock horns with Sudan’s Al Hilal who drew Ethiopia’s Fasil Kenema 3-3, but they progressed on away goals.
The next round of the Champions League games are scheduled to take place between October 15-17 while the second leg will be from October 22-24.
“We beat them away, and everyone thought it was a push over, but it was very obvious here that they are a very strong team,” Eguma told PM News.
“But after the away game, I knew that the second leg would be very tough, and it was the reason we came back here to re-strategise.
“Our initial plan in the first half didn’t work, so we had to change strategy in the second half, when we discovered that they were playing more offensive.
“We have to seize the ball from them and have more ball possession before we were able to pierce their defence and get the lone goal in the 82nd minute.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria champions, Akwa United failed to build on their first-leg advantage as they conceded two late goals in Algeria on Sunday.
Algerian Ligue 1 champions Belouizdad showed resilience to overturn the one-goal deficit they suffered in Nigeria a week ago with two late goals at the Omar Hamadi Stadium.
Akwa United tried to resist the threats of their hosts as both teams settled for a goalless first 45 minutes but Hicham Khalfallah’s effort in the 72nd minute broke the deadlock in Algiers and Chemseddine Nessakh’s 84th-minute goal sealed their ticket for the next round.