Errors gift Abia Warriors win over Rivers United
Two uncharacteristic errors from normally reliable stalwarts cost Rivers United in a 2-1 loss to Abia Warriors in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Sunday.
Poor positioning by goalkeeper, Sunday Rotimi gifted the Warriors the lead in the 38th minute as Arizne Nwangwu’s 35-yard free kick somehow crept in off the far post despite the veteran’s best efforts to keep it out.
Even the Abia Warriors players seemed shocked that the long range strike had hit the back of the net from nearly forty yards out.
The visitors seemed rejuvenated after the restart but conceded again, against the run of play, from another error, in the 49th minute.
Left back, Zoumana Doumbia miscalculated an attempted clearance at the opportune moment, allowing Ndifreke Effiong to creep in behind him and fire a powerful shot beyond the reach of a helpless Rotimi in the United goal.
The visitors looked shell-shocked at a near-empty Umuahia Township Stadium (the game was played behind closed doors) and knew that only a rapid response would prevent a capitulation of monumental proportions.
They did just that, albeit fortuitously, netting what turned out to be a consolation in the end in extremely dramatic circumstances.
They goal came against the run of play in the 65th minute from a defensive error, this time by the hosts, as substitute Malachi Ohawume supplied drastic punishment with deadly efficiency.
The attacker produced a deft chip past a stranded Warriors goalkeeper, Enaholo Joshua following some comical defending by the duo of Ubong Williams and Abiodun Adebayo.
United tried in vain to snatch a leveller but the hosts held out for a richly-deserved win.
“We lost the game in the first half. Our opponents had a better first half than us,” technical manager of Rivers United FC, Stanley Eguma told our official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ngshortly after the final whistle.
On his part, the Abia Warriors head coach, Emmanuel Deutsh voiced his relief at claiming a crucial victory.
“We worked very hard all through the week (to prepare for this game) because we know that Rivers United is a very good team.
“They are very physical but we worked on a system that will help us to win the match,” he said.
The defeat meant United slipped five places to ninth on the log with 27 points from 19 matches while Abia Warriors climbed to tenth with 25 points from 19 matches.
Abia Warriors: Enaholo Joshua, Ozor Chinedu, Ubong Williams, Arinze Nwangwu, Kabiru Ayinde, Abiodun Adebayo, Kola Raimi (Sunday Adetunji 59’), Ndifreke Effiong, Obi Samson, Shadrack Asiegbu and Anthony Okemiri (Emeka Isaac 72’)
Unused substitutes: Chinedu Anozie, Chinedu Efugh, Austin Obaroakpo, Ossy Martins and Stanley Nwuju.
Rivers United: Sunday Rotimi, Markson Ojobo, Gbadebo Samson, Festus Austine, Zoumana Doumbia, Emeka Atuloma, Obomate Frederick (Ohawume Malachi 56’), Ochowechi Salefu, Bakary Bamba (Weli Christian 75’), Emeka Ogbugh and Osita Chikere (Guy Kuemian 58’).
Unused substitutes: Emeka Nwabulu, Ali Chiwendu, Olalekan Gabriel and Samuel Ganda.
Yellow card: Bakary Bamba (28’), Markson Ojobo (55’), Samson Gbadebo (69’) and Ozor Chinedu (83’).
Red cards: Nil
Photo credit, LMC and RUFC MEDIA