Johannesburg – Rivers United of Nigeria trounced ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast 3-0 on Sunday to roar back into contention for a CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals place.
It was a dramatic improvement by the club from the southeastern city of Port Harcourt after a three-goal drubbing from Diables Noirs in Congo Brazzaville last weekend.
Rivers were ahead within a minute through Malachi Ohawume and Ukeme Williams notched a second goal for the Nigerians as half-time approached.
Any hopes of a comeback by former African champions ASEC were dashed just before the hour when Cameroonian Denis Ndasi added a third in the matchday 2 clash.
Surprise Group B leaders Diables are one point above Rivers after drawing 0-0 away to Daring Club Motema Pembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Young Africans of Tanzania also bounced back after a losing start in the African equivalent of the Europa League, winning 3-1 against TP Mazembe of DR Congo.
Rivers United 3-0 ASEC Mimosa@Nyimason28 ??
2 assists on a night to remember
How many love for our BIG FORWARD
No comment. Click ♥️ pic.twitter.com/safUEClv8t
— Rivers United FC (@RiversUnitedFC) February 20, 2023
The hosts made a perfect start with goals from Zambian Kennedy Musonda and Mudathir Yahya inside 12 minutes in Dar es Salaam.
But Yanga had to wait until the 92nd minute, when Tuisila Kisinda scored against his Congolese compatriots, to clinch maximum points after Alex Ngonga halved the deficit on 80 minutes.
Young Africans and Mazembe are one point behind US Monastir of Tunisia, who came from behind to draw 1-1 at Real Bamako of Mali, in Group D.
Marumo Gallants of South Africa stayed top of Group A thanks to a 2-1 win over Saint-Eloi Lupopo of DR Congo, who hosted the match in Zambia as they lack an international-standard ground.
A week after scoring four times against Libyan visitors Al Akhdar, Marumo built a two-goal half-time advantage through Mpho Mvelase and Ranga Chivaviro.
Patou Kabangu, a 37-year-old substitute, set up a tense finish by scoring direct from a free-kick for Lupopo on 82 minutes.
Marumo must wish they could replicate their Confederation Cup form – five wins in six qualifying and group matches – at home where they have won just three of 21 league games.