Emeka Atuloma’s solitary strike in the second half was enough to earn Nigerian side, Rivers United their first points in Group A of the CAF Confederation Cup.
Atuloma scored from a curling free-kick cross from left back Zoumana Doumbia with the midfielder tapping into an empty net after the ball evaded everyone inside the box.
FUS Rabat started the game the brightest of the two sides and could have taken the lead early in the game when Captain, Abdessalam Benjelloun’s near post header was gathered by Rivers United goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi.
The host soon responded through Emeka Ogbugh but the winger could not direct his shot goal wards after Aymane Majid’s headed clearance fell into the path of Ogbugh.
Both teams failed to create anything meaningful going into the break despite the visitors having the bulk of possession. The only thing noteworthy was Rivers United losing Ivorian attacker Guy Kuemian to injury.
Substitute Onoriode Odah who replaced Kuemian in the first-half injected some spark into the game with his pace and trickery. All that skill set was brought to the fore minutes after the restart when he dribbled past his marker but instead blasted his shot well wide.
Twelve minutes after the hour mark Rivers United took the lead through Emeka Atuloma. Standing over a free-kick, Doumbia sent in a left-footed cross with the ball trickling past a body of players to meet Atuloma unmarked in what looked like an offside position at the far post and the midfielder made no mistake from two-yards. FUS Rabat protested the decision but their calls for the goal to not stand fell on centre referee, Jean Claude Chimwe’s deaf ears
With the scoreline reading 1-0 in favour of Rivers United, FUS Rabat pressed late on for an equaliser but couldn’t find a way past Rotimi. The veteran goalkeeper produced superb saves first from Nayef Aguerd and later from Abdessalam Benjelloun to deny Rabat from earning a point in Port Harcourt.
With the win Rivers United move equal on three points with FUS Rabat, Club Africain and Kampala City Council FC in Group A.
Rivers United: 22. Rotimi Sunday; 30. Markson Ojobo, 6. Ayobami Asekunowo, 19. Festus Austin, 14. Zoumana Doumbia; 13. Emeka Atuloma, 10. Ayo Saka, 20. Frederick Obomate; 26. Emeka Ogbugh, 9. Guy Kuemian (Onoriode Odah 36′ Gabriel Olalekan 90+2), 29. John Odumegwu (Bolaji Sakin 72′).
Unused subs: 23. Abiodun Akande, 18. Gabriel Wassa, 27. Christian Weli, 17. Godbless Asamoah.
Booked: 72′ Emeka Atuloma, 81′ Festus Austin.
Goal: Emeka Atuloma 72′.
FUS Rabat: 13. Aymane Majid; 5. Ass Mandawsy 4. Nayef Aguerd 16. Mohammed Nahiri 22. El Mehdi El Bassil; 8. Badr Boulhroude, 2. Ayoub Skouma (El Mehdi Bettache 86′), 30. Mohammed Fouzaire, 27. Brahim El Bahri (Karim Benarif 68′), 9. Yusupha Njie (Mehdi Khalis), 10. Abdessalam Benjelloun.
Unused subs: 12. Younes Azziadi, 3. Ibourahima Sidibe, 20. Yassir Jarici, 21. Mohammed Saoud.
Booked: Brahim El Bahri
Referee: Jean Claude Ishimwe