By Isaiah Eka
Uyo, April 23, 2023
Young Africans SC of Tanzania on Sunday in Uyo beat hosts Rivers United 2-0 in the first leg game of their 2022/2023 CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final fixture.
In the match played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Young Africans took the game to their opponents from the first blast of the whistle.
But in the 74th minute of play, striker Fiston Kalala Mayele scored the game’s first goal against the run of play.
Rivers United’s fightback was compounded by the second goal in the 81st minute through Mayele.
Speaking during the post-match briefing, Young Africans’ coach, Nasredinne Nabi, said he was happy with the result as he came with hopes and the result came.
“I am happy with the result. I came with the hope that we are going to play a big team, but thank God we’ve won.
“This result is however a surprise for me because I know Rivers United are a good team and are very difficult to beat in Nigeria. This is a very good result,” Nabi said.
The captain of Young Africans SC, Stephane Aziz, in his comments said he and his teammates worked very hard to achieve the result and promised to go far in the competition.
The Head Coach of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma, on his part said it was a bad day for the team.
He, however, added that it was all because his players could not get their acts right.
Eguma attributed the loss to injuries sustained by their star players who could not feature in the match against Young Africans SC.
He said the team would endeavour to get their rhythm back in the second leg and bounce back into the competition.
“It was a bad day for us today. We didn’t get our acts right. But that is football. When the game started, we had a lot of scoring chances. But the players couldn’t convert them to goals.
“We had an upper hand in the game in the first half until when there was an opening and the opponents scored as a result of a defensive mistake.
“The goal really motivated them and they came all out to play. The second goal they scored was against the run of play because it was an opportunity for us to score a goal.
”But our players lost their bearing when they took the corner-kick.
“Like I said, it was a bad game for us today. But I believe we’ve learnt our lessons today.
“Actually, we lost some of our key players. If they were there, they would have made a difference.
“Players like Morris Chukwu, Onaja Joseph and our highest goal scorer Paul Aquah. They were all out due to injury.
“We are to go back and work harder and get our rhythm well for the second leg. It is not yet over, we will still bounce back in the next game,” Eguma assured.