Rivers United pip Enyimba
First half goals from Bernard Ovoke and Abdoulaye Kanoute proved decisive as Rivers United overcame Enyimba International 2-1 in a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game decided in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
Enyimba’a consolation was plundered by Koffi Franco Atchou in the 34th minute but that was that as far as goal scoring contributions were concerned as the home side amassed crucial points in their battle to escape the drop.
United started on the front foot and won a free kick in the third minute, 22 yards away from goal and set piece expert, Ovoke stepped up to take responsibility.
The winger fired with conviction past the Enyimba wall and shell-shocked goal keeper, Fatau Dauda as the ‘Pride of Rivers’ put their noses in front in the fourth minute.
Kanoute came close to doubling the hosts lead in the 28th minute but be fired a case range effort into the stands with just the goal keeper.
Redemption was to come the way of the Malian striker barely sixty seconds later as he fired a stunning volley past Dauda to give United a two goal cushion and send the home fans into raptures.
Enyimba are however not serial NPFL champions for nothing and battled back gamely, pinning the hosts to their half and carving open their defence at will in a gripping first half.
Due reward was to arrive just after the half hour as Ikechukwu Ibenegbu produced a moment of magic with an expertly-delivered free kick which was headed home with aplomb by Atchou.
Head coach of Enyimba, Gbenga Ogunbote and assistant coach of Rivers United, Joseph Buma spoke at the post match press conference attended by our official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng (audio files) have been attached).
The win saw United climb three places on the log to 11th as they have now amassed 48 points from 35 matches while Enyimba dropped one place to fourth with 54 points from 35 matches.
Rivers United: Femi Thomas, Ali Chiwendu, Markson Ojobo, Emeka Atuloma, Gabriel Olalekan, Ayobami Asekunuwo, Bernard Ovoke (Guy Kuemian 66′), Abdulaye Kanoute, Emeka Ogbugh, Esosa Igbinoba, and Lukman Mohammed.
Substitutes not used: Ndeh Ubong, Ifeanyi Nweke, Zoumana Doumbia, Daniel Israel and Yusuf Jaiyeola.
Enyimba FC: Fatau Dauda, Andrew Abalogu, Kelly Kester, Stanley Dimgba, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Dare Ojo, Ibrahim Mustapha, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Koffi Franco Atchou and Ikouwem Udoh.
Substitutes not used: Izundu Njoku, Solomon Okpako, Stephen Chukwude, Eric Frimpong, Chinonso Okonkwo and Solomon Gbadebo.
Goals: Rivers United: Bernard Ovoke 4′, Abdulaye Kanoute 29′. Enyimba FC: Koffi Franco Atchou 34′.
Photo credit: LMC.