Rivers United kicked off their Confederation Cup group phase campaign in style, beating Angolan club Academica 3-0 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Sunday.
Samuel Antwi’s early strike and second-half goals from Paul Odeh and Shedrack Asiegbu secured victory for the Port Harcourt side, who are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the second straight season.
It took Stanley Eguma’s men just three minutes to get in front, with Ghanaian forward Samuel Antwi beating Paulo Badrick at his near post after bursting into the box following a pass from Paul Odeh.
After that initial burst, United were quiet for a while and nearly conceded, when Samuel Cachimbombo rose to meet a corner.
Barely four minutes later, the visitors went close to levelling things up again. Antonio Angulu hit a first-time shot off a nice cutback. The ball looked destined for the bottom corner, but Anthony Ohaegbu threw himself in the way of the forward’s shot, diverting the ball over the bar.
Nyima Nwagua then had a glorious chance to double the hosts’ lead after sprinting into the box from the centre circle, but he agonisingly fired over the bar from 12 yards.
Odeh made it 2-0 for the home side less than a minute after the re-start with a jaw-dropping goal-of-the-season contender, volleying home a loose ball from 25 yards out following a headed clearance. The celebrations that followed were eye-catching.
Albert Korvah had two chances to increase the lead after coming on, but Badrick did well to keep out the Liberian’s efforts.
And just after the hour mark, Asiegbu sealed the win with a finish from inside the box.
With Tunisian giants Club Africain defeating Ghana’s Dream FC 2-0, it means United lead Group C thanks to their superior goal difference.
On December 3, Eguma’s team will continue their campaign with a trip to Dreams, while Academica will host Club Africain.