Rivers United FC lost 0-2 at home in Port Harcourt to Club Africain of Tunisia to drop out of contention for the semi-finals in the CAF Confederation Cup competition.
The victory took the Tunisian giants to the top of Group A standings with nine points, Nigeria’s Rivers remain fourth with six points.
The home side started brightly with Bernard Ovoke looking lively for Rivers in the Africain half in the first 20 minutes.
Africain were then awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area in the 28th minute after Manoubi Haddad was fouled.
Oussama Darragi then stepped up and forced Rivers goalkeeper Olufemi Thomas into a brilliant save from the set-piece.
Haddad tried to send Darragi through on goal in the 38th minute, but Thomas came out to gather the ball.
The hosts pressed Africain towards the half-time break and Bolaji Sakin’s header narrowly missed the target.
Nevertheless, the score was 0-0 during the half-time break following a relatively quiet first-half.
Mohammed Lukman was introduced for Rivers United seven minutes into the second-half as the home side looked to break the deadlock.
However, it was Africain, who took the initiative through Haddad’s powerful free-kick which beat Thomas to make it 1-0 in the 62nd minute.
Rivers midfielder Ayobami Asekunowo then found himself unmarked outside the Africain box ten minutes later and he fired inches off the target.
Pressure was mounting on the Africain and Ovoke outpaced the visitors’ defence in the 76th minute, but his shot at goal narrowly missed the target.
But a late counter attack led to Mokhtar Belkhiter scoring with a deflected shot – sealing Africain’s hard-fought 2-0 away victory.
Vanguard with Agency’s report