Adetunji header helps Rivers flow over Aba Elephants.
Former Enyimba striker Sunday Adetunji rose highest inside the box five minutes from time to plant home a header and earn hosts Rivers United a priceless 1-0 win over the People’s Elephant.
The rescheduled Match Day 11 encounter decided at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt on Sunday looked to be heading for a stalemate until Adetunji met a superb cross by full back Enyinnaya Kazie with an equally super header.
That was none less than the Pride of Rivers deserved in the game during which they threw everything at their neighbours who had seem contented with just taking a point from the game.
Enyimba succeeded in restricting their hosts in hopeful long range efforts for the most parts of the ninety but began to cave to the sustained pressure from the hosts in the second half with Nelson Esor central to most of their play.
The result meant that Rivers United now go 4th on the log, four points adrift of leaders Kwara United with the league’s second stanza billed to start on May 9. Enyimba stay in seventh place but have another chance to leapfrog Rivers United should they beat FC Ifeanyiubah on Wednesday.
Rivers United head coach Stanley Eguma was delighted with the points and believes it will serve as motivation for his side as they prepare for the second round of the league.
“It was a very tough game. Enyimba are never a pushover any day. I respect them, they gave us a very good run for our money and I feel that the game lived up to its billing.
“It’s a very important win because we have now added three points to our first stanza points and we have moved some steps forward on the log and it is a good thing for us and a motivation that there is a better tomorrow,” the former Enyimba assistant coach told www.npfl.ng after the game.
His Enyimba counterpart Fatai Osho blamed the defeat on the pitch which he said did not allow them play their game but gave credit to his hosts for winning the game.
“It was not a good one for us. We had a lot of confidence coming here that we would get something but unfortunately and it’s clear that we couldn’t play our football. It’s so difficult to put the ball on the ground.
“We just can’t play and they are quite used to it but that’s not to take anything away from them, they did a lot of job to get the result and we have to commend them for that. You can see their resilience, they kept fighting and they got what they wanted,” said Osho.
Rivers United lineup
30. Afelokhai Theophilus 6. Kazie Enyinnaya 15. Bamba Bamba (Konan Ruffin 87′) 13. Lookman Binuyo (Joseph Onoja 73′) 14. Fabian Nworie 5. Ifeanyi Anaemena 2. Aguda Godwin (Paul Acquah 65′) 7. Fortune Omoniwari (Malachi Ohawume 65′) 27. Sunday Adetunji (Rafiu Ishaq 87′) 11. Morice Chukwu 8. Esor Nelson
1. Abiodun Akande 24. Desmond Agbekpornu 19. Festus Austin 21. Cletus Emotan
BOOKED: Nelson Esor, Morice Chukwu
GOAL: Sunday Adetunji 85′
1. John Noble 23. Stanley Okorom 3. Daniel Darkwah 8. Farouk Mohammed 15. Timothy Danladi 18. Abiodun Adebayo 17. Anayo Iwuala 26 Austin Oladapo (Philip Ozor 70′) 11. Tosin Omoyele (Anthony Omaka 70′) 20. Cyril Olisema 14. Samad Kadiri
21 Sabirou Djeri Bassa 29. Imo Obot 33. Somiari Alalibo 27. Reuben Bala 25. Victor Mbaoma
BOOKED: Austin Oladapo, Daniel Darkwah