NPFL champions Rivers United suffered a crushing defeat to reigning African champions Wydad Casablanca in their CAF Champions League Group stage playoff second leg. The Nigerian side fell to a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of their Moroccan hosts at the Stade Mohammed V.
After defeating perennial champions Al Ahly to win the 2022 CAF Champions League, Wydad were facing elimination from the playoffs after losing 2-1 to Rivers United in the first leg in Port Harcourt. They managed to turn the situation around in front of their own fans too qualify for the group stage for an eighth consecutive season.
The match in Casablanca, which had Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro in attendance, saw both sides start the game looking to exploit the other’s weaknesses. The home side, however, were able to punish their visitors with no mercy.
The Moroccan giants opened the scoring after 32 minutes as Ayoub El Amloud beat the offside trap to slide a precise finish into the back of the net.
Rivers United soon saw their woes compounded as goalkeeper Seidu Mutawakilu, formerly of Rangers, gave away a penalty following a rash challenge in his box. The goalkeeper received a second yellow card, having been booked for time wasting earlier in the game, reducing the visitors to ten men. Yahya Jabrane stepped up and slotted home the resulting penalty to give his side a 2-0 lead in the 44th minute.
The home side refused to let up and soon added another goal, this time, through Senegalese forward Junior Sambou in the 49th minute of the encounter. Rivers United continued to sleepwalk through the tie and Sambou doubled his personal tally on the evening only seven minutes later as the Moroccans put their Nigerian opponents to the sword.
Wydad were not done with goalscoring as Jabrane added his own second from the penalty spot in the 69th minute of the tie. Hamid Ahadad rounded off the scoring for the Moroccans in the 90th minute, completing a convincing thrashing of the Nigerian champions.
Rivers United lost on aggregate by seven goals to two and will now continue their continental campaign in the playoff rounds of the CAF Confederation Cup. The Nigerian side will hope to save face in the second-tier competition alongside Plateau United.