Rivers United began their 2023 CAF Confederations Cup group stage campaign on a poor note, as Congolese side Diables Noirs defeated the Nigerian champions with three unanswered goals on Sunday.
Following the conclusion of the qualifying round in November of last year, the second-tier football club competition in Africa began with two matches, one of which took place at the Stade Alphonse Massemba-Débat.
Despite being on foreign land, the Nigerian champs got off to a fantastic start, controlling a large portion of possession in the first half.
However, the hosts gained control of the game twenty minutes in, pressing the Nigerian team to eventually allow the game’s opening goal at the half-hour mark.
Rivers United subsequently conceded a second goal two minutes later, when Jaures Ngombe’s attempt beat goalkeeper Mutawakilu Seidu, bringing Carl Wunda Ngana’s tally to two.
Domi Jaures Massoumou scored from the penalty spot not long after, bringing the score to three.
The second half lacked the intensity of the first, with the three goals enough for the Congolese Cup winners to earn their first three points against the Nigerian champs.
In the other Group B match, Motema Pembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo held hosts ASEC Mimosas to a goalless draw at the Stade de Yamoussoukro in Cote d’Ivoire.
Rivers United, Nigeria’s sole representative in the group stages of this season’s continental club competitions, finished last in Group B, according to Sunday’s results.
Next Sunday, they will host ASEC Mimosas at Godswill Akpabio Stadium in their second group encounter.
The current prize money for the CAF Confederation Cup winners stands at $1.25 million, with the runner-up in line to bag $625,000, and semi-finalists, $450,000. Teams that get knocked out in the quarterfinals will get $350,000.
The venue for the final is yet to be announced by CAF.
Marumo Gallants (South Africa) 4-1 Al-Akhdar (Libya)
Scorers: Nku 5, Chivaviro 21, 57, Molangoane 85 / Alzawi 80
21:00 USM Alger (Algeria) vs. Saint Eloi Lupopo (DR. Congo)
ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) 0-0 Motema Pembe (DR. Congo)
Diables Noirs (Congo) 3-0 Rivers United (Nigeria)
Scorers: Wunda 30, Ngombe 32, Massoumou 37
ASKO de Kara (Togo) 1-1 Future (Egypt)
Scorers: Tchoutchoui 3 / Mohamed Farouk 80
21:00 Pyramids (Egypt) vs. FAR Rabat (Morocco)
TP Mazembe (DR. Congo) 3-1 Réal Bamako (Mali)
Scorers: Kitambala 24, Ngonga 38, Mwamba 90 / Coulibaly 32
Monastir (Tunisia) 2-0 Young Africans (Tanzania)
Scorers: Saghraoui 10, Traore 16