By Monica Iheakam
It was mixed fortunes for Nigeria’s CAF Champions League quest as her representatives, Rivers United and Rangers international won and lost in the round of 32 first leg clashes.
Rivers United, proved to be worthy ambassadors with a comfortable 3-0 first leg victory over Al-Merrikh of Sudan in Port Harcourt on Sunday, while compatriots, Rangers International of Enugu received a 4-1 humiliation in the hands of Zamalek of Egypt at the El-Salam Stadium.
Ivory Coast import, Guy Kuemian, broke the deadlock with a brace in the 15th and 18th minute respectively to put Rivers United 2-0 ahead in the first half.
Rivers United continued in its dominating form at the resumption of the second half, with Esosa Igbonosa sealing victory in the 85th minute of encounter.
The second leg will be played at the Al-Merrikh Stadium, Omdurman next week.
The winner of the tie will qualify for the group stage of the competition.
Meanwhile the reverse was the case for Nigeria Professional League Champions Rangers, who fell like a pack of cards in the hands of Champions League runners -up Zamalek.
Totally outclassed by their hosts, Rangers conceded three goals in the first half, courtesy of an early header by Stanley Ohawuchi and goals from fellow Zamalek attackers Hossam Salama and Ayman Hefni.
Mostafa Fathi added a fourth from the spot nine minutes after the break before forward Bobby Clement grabbed a lifeline for the Flying Anthelopes in the final minutes of the game.
Five-time Champions League holders, Zamalek, will visit the Nigerian league holders for the return leg on March 17.