Ogbugh, Koffi nail Heartland
Second half goals from Emeka Ogbugh and Roland Koffi proved decisive as Rivers United subdued Heartland 2-0 in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Wednesday.
Former Heartland forward Ogbugh scored spectacularly five minutes after the break, curling home brilliantly from 25 odd yards with the Naze Millionaires’ defence retreating in ill-advised fashion.
Koffi, another ex-Heartland start, made the points safe with a long range effort with the visitors’ goalkeeper, Japhet Opubo culpable.
United dominated the first half but lack of composure in the final third proved to be their biggest shortcoming.
Ogbugh had the best opportunity to open the scoring in a tense first half decided at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt but watched in frustration as his fiercely-struck effort from a tight angle was tipped over for a corner in spectacular fashion by Opubo.
In truth, Heartland looked dangerous early on and should have opened the scoring in the 13th through an exhilarating team move.
Lucky Emariojake who was at the end of the flowing move however produced a poor first touch when the best option appeared to be hitting a first time shot with the United goalkeeper, Emeka Nwabulu at his mercy.
United were however superior and missed several chances, most notably, Osita Chikere’s effort off an Ogbugh cross, late on, to add even more gloss to the score line.
Technical manager of the Port Harcourt club, Stanley Eguma expressed satisfaction with the win but added that more goals should have been scored if his wards had not displayed profligacy in the contest.
“It was a difficult game as Heartland adopted a formation that almost neutralized our tactical plans,” Eguma told our official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng after the game.
“We made changes (to our tactics after the break) and started getting the goals.
“The number of goals we got today did not reflect our dominance as we got so many scoring chances,” Eguma said.
Heartland’s head coach, Ezekiel Onyegbulem also spoke to our media team (audio file has been attached) after the game and blamed ‘loss of concentration’ for his side’s reverse.
Wednesday’s win was enough to see United climb to tenth spot on the NPFL standings with 20 points from 14 matches while Heartland remain in the relegation zone (18th) having amassed 16 points from 15 matches.