Rivers United fired blanks against a spirited Lobi Stars side on Sunday in Port Harcourt in a largely uninspiring 0-0 draw as the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) entered match day five.
The highlight of a poor first half lacking in genuine quality was recorded in the 27th minute when the Lobi Stars goalkeeper, Okiemute Odah performed a brilliant double save to deny Bernard Ovoke from point blank range.
Two minutes Ovoke was denied, Odah against prevented the hosts from sneaking ahead when he kept out Emeka Ogbugh’s tame header with a simple save.
Lobi’s best effort of the half arrived in the 14th minute but Festus Austine defended well to deny Kingsley Eduwo during a frantic goal mouth melee.
Clear cut chances were at a premium in the second half as defences dominated.
The Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma didn’t exactly cut a happy figure after the game as he voiced his sentiments on the result to assembled media at the post-match press conference.
“We changed our tactics at the break when we realized how Lobi set up shop in the first half.
“They were extremely defensive but coped well in the first half.
“I changed things in the second half and even though we created chances, we failed to score but that is football for you,” he said.
Lobi Stars head coach, Godwin Uwua was also at the press conference and he stated that the draw claimed in Port Harcourt felt like a win.
“This draw (against Rivers United) feels like a win though you guys (journalists) see it as a draw.
“You cannot compare Rivers United and MFM FC (a side Lobi lost 0-4 to in their last away game) in terms of coaching and (personnel).
“Having conceded four goals against MFM, I knew that if I wasn’t careful, my team could concede as much as 12 (goals) in Port Harcourt against Rivers United.
“I had to work harder because I knew I was facing a better team,” he said.
Rivers United slipped from second to fifth with nine points from five matches as a result of the draw while Lobi Stars now occupies tenth spot on the NPFL log with seven points from their opening five fixtures.
Rivers United: Femi Thomas, Ojobo Markson, Wassa Gabriel, Aliassou Sanou (Yusuf Jaiyeola 60’), Olalekan Gabriel, Festus Austine, Ovoke Bernard (Bolaji Sakin (66’), Lukman Mohammed (Kuemian Guy 65’), Esosa Igbinoba, Nzube Anaezemba and Emeka Ogbugh.
Substitutes not used: Sunday Rotimi, Ayobami Asekunowo, Zoumana Doumbia and Weli Christian.
Lobi Stars: Okiemute Odah, Kwambe Solomon, Bunde Moses, Joseph Nathaniel, Agbaji Anthony, David Tyavkase (Itodo Cletus 90’), Alimi Sunday, Eduwo Kingsley (Barnabas Daniel 53’), Nwangwa Nyima, Dennis Nya and Chinedu U. James.
Substitutes not used: John Lawrence, Luter Iyorhe, Rufus Omotayo, Gwaza Iorliam and Sunday Emmanuel.
Rivers United: Festus Austine (42’), Markson Ojobo
Lobi Stars: Kingsley Eduwo (12’).
Red cards: Nil