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Rivers United pip Niger Tornadoes 2-0


Rivers United

Osita Chikere and Emeka Ogbugh struck in the first half as Rivers United beat Niger Tornadoes 2-0 in a keenly fought Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) contest decided in Port Harcourt yesterday.

Chikere headed home an expertly delivered Bernard Ovoke corner on 17 minutes to give the ‘Pride of Rivers’ a deserved lead at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.

Ogbugh, making his season’s debut after helping Nigeria to a second-placed finish at the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco, curled home an exquisite free kick just before the half hour to give the Port Harcourt club a commanding lead going into the break.

Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma made five changes to the side that lost 0-1 to Yobe Desert Stars on match day eight and the end product was satisfactory.

Bello Ikeleji, Koffi Roland, Christian Weli, Sunday Afolabi and Malachi Ohawume made way for Ogbugh, Ovoke, Ochowechi ‘Oche’ Salefu, Gbadebo Samson and Bakari Bamba and the new entrants subsequently repaid the gaffer’s trust in their abilities.

Ovoke’s lively dribbling won the corner that led to United’s first goal and he took the set piece himself before Ogbugh showed the home fans what they had been missing following his absence occasioned by national commitments.

His fierce free kick, hit with venom from 30 odd yards flew into the corner with laser-like accuracy, underlying his ability to strike a pinhead from range.

Tornadoes, aesthetic in fits and starts, had their moments too, most notably in the 55th minute when Eric Frimpong beat the United offside trap to the consternation of the home faithful. The attacker, however, made the wrong decision at the opportune moment, firing straight at Rivers United goalkeeper, Sunday Rotimi, who made himself big and narrowed the angle.

United, in fairness should have scored more in the second half but missed a plethora of chances to add some gloss to the eventual score line.

Ogbugh fired a rocket inches wide after Salefu teed him up brilliantly in the 66th minute with Aliko Mustapha, the Tornadoes goalkeeper beaten at his near post.

Salefu also came close to scoring on a second consecutive home game but watched in frustration as his sweetly struck goal bound strike was headed out heroically by Tornadoes defender, Rueben Ogbonnaya.

Guy Kuemian, United’s top scorer this term, curled a beautiful effort just wide from the edge of the area in stoppage time as the hosts held out for a richly-deserved win.

It was a good day in the office for United and Eguma expressed satisfaction afterwards in the post-match presser covered by our official website,

“This (victory) is a sign of good things to come. There is (an) improvement (in the team’s play) as we scored twice and missed so many other (scoring opportunities).

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