On Saturday and Sunday, four Nigerian clubs began their quest to qualify for the group stages of both CAF inter-club competitions.
Kwara United and Rivers United both got comfortable victories while Plateau United drew 2-2 with Stade Mandji in Gabon on Saturday.
Kwara United away from Ilorin played at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium in Lagos, and hammered Nigerien opponents, AS Douanes 3-0, in the first leg of their CAF Confederations Cup preliminary match on Sunday evening.
Two first-half goals from two new signings-Wasiu Jimoh and Paul Samson helped the Harmony boys a three-goal advantage into the second leg in Niamey next Sunday.
Coach Nosike Onyewuchi included six new signings in the 11 that started for Kwara United against AS Douanes.
As early in the fifth minute, Kwara United began their goal hunt with new-signing Paul Samson, who fired past Douanes goalkeeper, Omar Halidou, from a pullout. It was the former Abia Warriors’ debut goal for the Harmony boys.
Despite the drizzling rain, Kwara United didn’t relent with more offensive attempts on their opponents.
Douanes’ first attempt on goal came in the 14th minute-a 22-yard shot from Aboubacar Traore, which was saved by Adewale Adeyinka.
Three minutes later, Aboubacar cost his team a penalty. Jimoh, who provided the assist for the first goal, took the responsibility and scored to give United a two-goal lead.
In the 21st minute, Adeyinka was called into action for the second time from an aerial attack from Douanes.
Kwara United took advantage of Douanes’ sloppy defence and scored their third goal through Jimoh in the 40th minute. In the 51st minute, a chance to increase their lead was denied by Halidou, who made double saves from Issa Gata and Samson, respectively.
Two minutes later, Samson’s attempt was parried to safety by Halidou.
Douanes tried to get a consolation in the 55th minute but through a good save by Adeyinka thwarted their Nigerian forward Saviour Ogbonna.
Gata, seeking Kwara United’s fourth goal in the game, failed to tap in a close-range cross in the 67th minute.
Adeyinka ensured United kept a clean sheet in his debut game for Kwara United, as he parried Shamsu Alhassane’s shot before the referee ruled the attempt for an offside two minutes later.
In the 76th minute, Alhassane again tested Adeyinka with a right-sided free kick, but the United goalkeeper saved with his leg.
In the 90th minute, Ayobami Junior’s shot from Gata’s pass in the box went wide.
Elsewhere, Rivers United also began their CAF Champions League campaign with a 3-0 win over Liberian club side, Watanga, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
First-half goals from former Rangers player, Agu Kenechukwu, Ebube Duru, and Paul Acquah sent the visitors back to Liberia with a three-goal deficit.
Away in Gabon, Plateau United gained a creditable 2-2 result against Stade Mandji.
Nigeria’s fourth club in the continental assignments, Remo Stars play later tonight at 8 pm, against the Moroccan club FAR Club of Rabat.