Ochowechi stunner denies FC Ifeanyiubah famous win in Port Harcourt
By Fisayo Dairo
Ochowechi Salefu scored a beautiful goal five minutes from time as hosts Rivers United held FC Ifeanyiubah 1-1 in a dramatic Matchday 11 contest in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
United went behind after the hour mark after goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi was dismissed for a needless lunge on FC Ifeanyiubah striker Pascal Seka. Onyekachi Victor Chidume expertly converting the spot kick beyond substitute goalkeeper Robert Cole.
The visitors were also reduced to ten men ten minutes from time when midfielder Sadiq Abdulrazak was dismissed after receiving a second caution for a foul. Ochowechi took full advantage five minutes later when he rifled home from 18 yards.
Stanley Eguma’s men went into the game in euphoric mood after their first away win of the season; a 1-0 success at Kwara United last Sunday. Eguma made just a change to that set-up, replacing midfielder Christian Weli with winger Bernard Ovoke.
Their visitors who also won last time out; a 1-0 win over Nasarawa United in Nnewi made two changes to their team. Ebuka Nwenyi and Sadiq Abdulrazak were handed starting berths.
Both sides played out a rather tentative opening half with chances few and far between as the clouds gathered over 22 players bereft of ideas in all areas of the game.
In-form Osita Chikere went closest to breaking the duck for the hosts on eight minutes but his header, after FC Ifeanyiubah goalkeeper Drissa Bamba had misjudged Ovoke’s corner, was cleared by Wasiu Jimoh.
Both sides had scant efforts on goal, Rotimi and Bamba comfortably saving from Pascal Seka and Emeka Ogbugh respectively.
The second half started almost the same way the first ended but Chikere once again tried to be decisive in the final third but Bamba denied Ochowechi as he latched on to the striker’s incisive pass.
The game was however turned on its head on 59 minutes when Rotimi while claiming a loose ball left his feet into the approaching Seka’s legs, thereby giving the referee no other than option than to point to the spot as the Ivorian sprawled on the turf.
After a few minutes of delay, reserve goalkeeper Robert Cole was sent on by Eguma in place of winger Ovoke.
Former Remo Stars midfielder, Chidume converted from 12 yards in the 66th minute to give Ladan Bosso’s men the lead.
United poured more men forward when Malachy Ohawume replaced Bakary Bamba with less than 15 minutes to play and they were helped further when Abdulrazak received a second caution for obstructing a quick restart of play.
Ochowechi restored parity on 85 minutes when he exchanged passes with Chikere before hitting his effort beyond Bamba who was rooted to one spot.
A further five minutes of additional time were not enough to provide a winner in the game as the Anambra Warriors held on for their first away point of the season.
Rivers United: 22. Sunday Rotimi 30. Markson Ojobo 14. Zoumana Doumbia (Fredrick Obomate 86′) 28. Godwin Obinze 5. Samson Gbadebo 19. Festus Austine 7. Bernard Ovoke (Robert Cole 65′) 26. Emeka Ogbugh 2. Osita Chikere 23. Ochowechi Salefu 15. Bakary Bamba (Malachy Ohawume 77′)
Subs: 1. Robert Cole 4. Ikeleji Bello 9. Guy Keumian 18. Akeem Balogun 20. Fredrick Obomate 25. Malachi Ohawume 27. Christian Weli
BOOKED: Festus Austine 78′
DISMISSAL: Sunday Rotimi 59′
GOAL: Ochowechi Salefu 85′
FC Ifeanyiubah: 16. Drissa Bamba 15. Ebuka Nwenyi 3. Felix Osia 4. Tony Msonter 22. Wasiu Jimoh 26. Onyekachi Chidume 23. Abdulrazak Sodiq 33. Faruq Umar 29. Daberechi Anyanwu 8. Ekene Awazie 11. Pascal Seka
Subs: 30. Charles Thambe 7. Yaya Kone 10. John Huan 18. Gabriel Adeboye 19. Suraj Sodiq 28. Saviour Francis 35. Jimoh Gbadamosi
BOOKED: Sadiq Abdulrazak 34′ 80′, Ebuka Nwenyi 90′
DISMISSAL: Sadiq Abdulrazak 80′
GOAL: Onyekachi Chidume 66′ (p)
Referee: Abdullahi Abubakar
Man of the Match: Victor Onyekachi Chidume
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