Rivers United have been knocked out of the 2021 CAF Confederations Cup following a 5-4 loss on penalties to Enyimba in the second leg of the playoff tie played on Sunday at the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium, Port Harcourt.
Enyimba took their 1-0 first leg advantage in Aba to Port-Harcourt but Fortune Omoniwari’s strike in 42nd ensured the playoff ended 1-1 on aggregate.
Omoniwari’s goal was his atonement for the opportunity he wasted as early as the first minute of the match when he was clear on goal but failed to score.
After the early scare, the ‘People’s elephants’ camped in the half of Rivers United and that nearly paid off when Kadiri Samad’s seemingly tame shot at goal hit the side post before it was hastily guided out by shepherded out Theophilus Afelokahi.
Rivers United then had another chance in the 24th minute when the sleeky Godwin Aguda raced past his marker from the left flank but his cross was missed by all including his teammates according to Daily Trust.
However, the deadlock was broken in the 42nd minute when Malachy Ohanu from 25 yards sped past two Enyimba defenders and his weak shot rebounded and fell perfectly in the path of on rushing Omoniwari who finished off with aplomb.
The second half continued on the same high tempo as both sides pushed harder to score and possibly avoid the looming penalties but the regulation time ended 1-0 in favour of Rivers United.
In the resultant penalties, both sides scored four of the first five kicks as Kunle Odunlami and Cyril Olisema missed a kick each.
It was in the ‘sudden death’ that goalkeeper Noble Obuh sent Enyimba into the group stage after substitute Israel Emmanuel failed to score.
Wike made the promise when he presented Yutong buses, ambulances and other vehicles to the Rivers United and the Rivers Angels Football Clubs at Government House in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
He said, as players, they have the opportunity to write their names in gold while promoting the image of the state, and they should not compromise it.
“I believe that when you have an opportunity, you shouldn’t miss it. This is the time, not only to win laurels for the state, but also to print your name in gold. Let it be known that you’re part of the team that brought laurels and trophies to this State.
“Let me assure you that the State Government will not relent to give you all the necessary support that you require to make you bring trophies at the end of this season.
“I hear you have CAF Match ahead of you. Let me say to Rivers United FC, if you win the CAF Cup, your life will change. I will not say now what I will give to you. Just win the trophy first.