Algerian side Union Sportive Medina D’Alger (USMA) were at their ruthless best on Tuesday evening as they thrashed a sorry Plateau United side 4-0 in Algiers to advance to the Confederation Cup group stage with a 5-2 aggregate score.
Striker Oussama Darfalou scored twice, one in each half to set the Algerians en route to an emphatic victory as the Nigerian champions’ “False Nine” tactics on the day backfired in epic proportion, the team failing to register an attempt on target.
USMA had lost the first leg 2-1 in Lagos – Plateau’s enforced home ground – ten days ago but Kennedy Boboye’s men knew a one-goal advantage going to North Africa is no advantage. The hosts fielded a strong attacking lineup including seven players with international experience with Algeria.
United almost conceded as early as the eighth minute but Benmoussa’s deflected free kick rebounded off the foot of the post and into safety. The hosts terrorised their visitors with their set-piece deliveries in what seemed like a well orchestrated plan.
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It was however not a surprise when USMA got their first goal on the night from a corner just before the half hour mark, Darfalou heading home a rebound although replays suggested he might have been offside. Plateau goalkeeper Ajiboye then produced a great save to deny the striker in the 42nd minute but they scored again from the resulting corner through Beldjilali.
Darlafou got his brace just three minutes after the break before Benkhemassa’s sumptuous curling effort eight minutes from time added gloss to the scoreline for the hosts who will now march with heads held high into the group stage of Africa’s second club competition.
For their Nigerian victims Plateau United, they go back to domestic action where they have a backlog of outstanding games – four as at this moment – and will hope they come clean out of the match-fixing claims that trailed their first leg engagement with the Algerians.
Three more Nigerian teams are in action in the Confederation Cup on Wednesday: Enyimba host South Africans Bidvest Wits, Akwa United entertain Sudanese side Al Hilal while MFM FC are guests to Djoliba.