Kwara United came from behind to beat Berkane 3-1 in the Total Energies CAF Confederation Cup second preliminary round first leg on Sunday.

The Orange Boys dominated the opening exchanges, though Hamza Regragui had the first real attempt with a shot from inside his own half. That didn’t trouble Adewale Adeyinka and neither did effort from Wasiu Jimoh unduly worry Hamza Hamiani.

Cheick Ouattara headed home the opener as the visitors silenced Harmony Boys fans.

Wasiu Jimoh hit the woodwork, from a curler around the hour mark, before a brilliant piece of attacking play saw Isah Gata tee up a Taofeeq Ahmed first-time finish into the far corner for the opener. A Wasiu Jimoh brilliant effort cross flew in past everybody, with Barnabas Daniel wrapping the game up in the final two minutes as Berkane collapsed.

Here are five things we learned from the game at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena.

5. Wasiu Jimoh and Taofeeq Ahmed impressive

North African teams find it difficult facing teams which uses Ram Strikers as a result of their power and mobility.

Kwara United needed one to wreck havoc and Wasiu Jimoh came to the part with a superlative performance.

When the Harmony Boys were not ticking, he kept on hustling and tormenting their backline.

His contributions was deservedly rewarded with a world class strike.

As for substitute Taofeeq Ahmed, he chose the right time to introduce himself to Kwara United fans.

When the former Katsina United was thrown into the fray, he pepper Berkane backline with his direct and bulldozing ways of penetration. He netted the leveler and provided the assist for Wasiu Jimoh.

4. Afeez Nosir the enforcer

Considering the amount of possession play Berkane had in the match, it required a big performance by several Kwara United players.

Foremost among their leaders was holding midfielder Afeez Nosir, excellent throughout both in ball-winning on the deck and aerial dominance in the air.

He was an absolute barrier that Berkane struggled to get past with regularity and his use of the ball was almost equally as impressive as his near-perfect defensive display.

3. Errors at the back

After last week’s loss against Wydad Casablanca, Berkane would have had ‘concentration’ and ‘solidity’ somewhere near the top of their list of requirements for this game.

For more than 70 minutes they had exactly that: great control of the midfield, a fine shape and one or two big defensive interventions when they needed them.

Then, it quickly fell apart: a silly foul, no organisation, no communication, three goals conceded.

Forget just names at the back, the Abdelhak Ben Chikha has to get his team back to knowing how to defend as a unit.

Berkane have always found it difficult to defend set pieces and this has affected their season so far.

The ugly head continued to show in the game against Kwara United.

2. Tactical masterstroke by Azeez Mohammed

The likes of Paul Samson and Samuel Chisom struggled with the rhythm of the game in the opening 50 minutes. It was very obvious as they left Wasiu Jimoh completely isolated upfront.

Onus fell on coach Azeez Mohammed to change the oil of his machine. The gaffer’s substitutions made the difference in a difficult game at Onikan.

1. Ayobami Junior comes to the party

Kwara United lacked creativity in the first two quarters of the game. The bench had to call on Ayobami Junior and he came to the party.

There was a lot to like about his distribution, his willingness to commit opponents and his clever passes to create openings.

He was quick, strong and intelligent and he is clearly in Azeez Mohammed’s plans for the future.


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