Akwa United got their debut CAF Champions League campaign underway with a hard-earned victory over CR Belouizad of Algeria on home soil.
The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, Akwa United, defeated their Algerian opponent, CR Belouizad on Sunday 1-0 in Uyo to kick start the debut.
The game started with both teams trying to catch themselves on the counter, and the only two chances in the first half came from free kicks that ended up hitting the bar.
The only goal of the match came in the 87th minute of the game filled with intense pressure from both sides. Friday Ubong pounced on a rebound to win the match for his team.
Reacting post-match, Akwa United head coach Kennedy Boboye said, “The Algerian side are highly technical. They have been in this tournament for three to four times. You can’t take it away from them. This is our first time in the Champions League. There is no how we would have gotten what we wanted in a space of four weeks. The Algerians have been together for four years.
“This is what we have gotten. Most of these players we tried to get didn’t come. We can’t stop players from travelling. It’s unfortunate that we started the tournament very early. We haven’t been able to play together for a long time. By the time we surpass this stage, we would be better than before.”
Further more, while speaking ahead of the second leg, the former Remo Stars Coach said the team need to adapt to a new formation going forward with the presence of a striker that can hold the ball for his teammates to feed on.
He said: “We will go there with a different formation. What we need is an attacker who can hold the ball. We know we don’t have the We know we don’t have the qualities needed upfront but if we play to instructions and the formation to be used, the team should perform well.”
Akwa United will travel to Algeria this week for the return leg of the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League.