Rivers United will take a 2-0 advantage to high-altitude Rwanda next weekend as they aim to reach the group stage of the (CAF) Confederation Cup after they stopped Rayon Sports in Port Harcourt yesterday.
Both sides had chances to score in the first half, but it was the hosts who eventually opened scoring after half an hour when Emeka Atuloma scrambled home from a goalmouth melee.
And six minutes after the interval, Ivorian striker Guy Kuemian made it 2-0 for the home team with a superb volley.
Rayon must rue missed several chances in this contest.
In the 13th minute, three Rayon Sports players beat the offside trap of Rivers United from a free kick, but failed to hit target.
And 10 minutes later, Rivers United goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi put to great use his wealth of experience to deny Mustapha of Rayon Sports with a fine save.
It was an exciting first 45 minutes with Rivers United making the most of their chances, while Rayon Sports were far from clinical in front of goal.
The character of the Nigerian club now faces a stern test next weekend as they attempt to defend their two-goal lead to qualify for the group phase of the Confederation Cup.