Sudanese champions Al-Merreikh on Saturday pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in the Caf Champions League in recent years to see off Nigerian side Rivers United 4-3 on aggregate.
Bakri Al Madina netted a first-half hat-trick and Mohamed Abdulrahman came off the bench to score the fourth as The Red Devils clawed their way back from a three-goal deficit in the first leg in Nigeria about a week ago to dispatch Rivers United.
Rivers United head coach Stanley Eguma opted for a defensive approach to protect their three-goal advantage with a five-man backline of Markson Ojobo, Zoumana Doumbia, Ayobami Asekunowo, Festus Austine and Joseph Douhadji
The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side could only hold on for 20 minutes before Bakri breached their backline with the first of his three goals.
Five minutes later, Bakri doubled Al-Merreikh's lead on the night as the Nigerian club struggled to keep the ball at the packed Al-Merrikh Stadium in Omdurman.
Rivers United, swallowed by the cauldron of red at the Al-Merreikh Stadium, just did not get into their groove as they were pinned in their half by the 16-time Sudanese champions.
Things got worse for Eguma and his men before the break when they conceded a spot kick and Bakri stepped forward to score his third of the game to put the round of 32 match-up at 3-3 aggregate.
The Sudanese champions continued to dominate matters in the restart but could not get that fourth goals so early in the second half.
Rivers United held their lines well but only for 26 minutes in the business end of the game.
Al-Merreikh substitute Abdulrahman put the tie beyond the Nigerian club with only his first touch to help his team seal their passage to the Caf Champions League group stage on a 4-3 aggregate.
The defeat means Rivers United drop to the Caf Confederation Cup to play in the playoff round.