El Mahdi El Bassil (L) of FUS Rabat vies for the ball with Saber Khalifa (R) Club Africain during the CAF Champions League match between FUS Rabat from Morocco and Club Africain from Tunisia, in Rabat ,Morocco on 02 June 2017.EPA/Abdelhak Senna
Saturday Jul 08, 2017. 00:01
FUS Rabat came from a goal down to defeat Rivers United 2-1 in their final Group A match and claim a place in the CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinals.
The result in Morocco saw the hosts move level with Uganda’s KCCA (who were beaten heavily in a concurrent match by group winners Club Africain in Tunisia) on nine points, but FUS claim second place on a head-to-head tiebreaker.
FUS dominated the first half and tested United goalkeeper Akande Asimiyu on several occasions, as well as hitting the crossbar on 42 minutes through Youssef El Gnaoui.
Yet it was the Nigerians who claimed the lead just before half time and very much against the run of play.
FUS goalkeeper Aymane Majid made a major error in judgment by coming off his line to try and claim a cross, which ended with Rivers’ Bolaji Sakin steering the ball into an almost unguarded net to put his side 1-0 up.
The Moroccans hit back early in the second half though El Gnaoui, who latched onto a ball across the face of goal and steered a low shot past Asimiyu to make it 1-1 in the 52nd minute.
FUS continued their domination after drawing level and with a quarter hour to play they twice came close to adding to their tally, with Mohammed Fouzair denied by a wonderful save, before El Gnaoui saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Joseph Douhadji.
The match looked destined to end in a stalemate, but with the end of regulation time looming the hosts were awarded a penalty when Festus Austin was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
Fouzair took on the responsibility of the spot kick and coolly chipped the ball home in the 88th minute to seal a 2-1 win for FUS Rabat and a place in the quarterfinals.
The Moroccans will face either MC Alger or CS Sfaxien in the last eight, with the final Group B standings to be decided on Saturday evening.