December 17, 2019

NPFL: 10-man Rivers United edge out Katsina United 2-0

NPFL: 10-man Rivers United, Katsina United

A goal in each half from Stephen Michael and Ishaq Rafiu was also Rivers United needed to see off United in a Matchday 8 fixture decided at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Sunday.

The home side, had set sight on turning the tide from their loss away to Enyimba three days earlier. They started a second straight game without goalkeeper, Abiodun Akande, while former MFM stopper Ospino Egbe was the preferred choice in goal.

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The visitors named a strong side for the visit, but without Gambo Mohammed. Captain Usan Bara’u got a look in as the ‘Changi Boys’ settled for their preferred 4-3-3 formation.

Rivers almost drew first blood three minutes into the fixture when Ishaq Rafiu’s 35-yard freekick rattled goalkeeper, Kassaly Daouda, who recovered instantaneously to parry to safety.

Three minutes later, Stephen Michael put the home side ahead with a lovely volley, after getting to the end of Chigozie Ihunda’s masterpiece.

The visitors could have drawn level on 12 minutes, but Salisu Saidu could not make it count from 12 yards, despite being sent clear by Bara’u. The first half got to a close with both sides cancelling each other out in every department.

Eguma’s men resumed with much vigor and desire to notch the game beyond the visitors. They pressure almost paid off on 55 minutes, but Rafiu agonizingly shot again inches off target.

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Fifteen minutes later, Cletus Emotan was handed opportunity to double the advantage, but failed to slide in Stephen Michael’s low cross.

Rivers would wait for a second in the 75th minute. Rafiu latched onto a clever pass from Emotan, before lifting above the onrushing goalkeeper, Douada, for the second.

Despite the sending off of Nelson Esor, eight minutes before time, for a second bookable offence, the visitors were unable to reduce the deficit, as the home side held on for all three points.

Rivers United move to 7th on the log, while Katsina slip to 11th. The former travel to Uyo for a date with Akwa United, while the latter hosts Akwa Starlets on Wednesday in Katsina.


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