Kwara United showed a strong promise of possibly picking a point from Rivers United in Port Harcourt but a 65th anxiety and misjudgment led the defence line to bring down Cletus Emotan in the box.
The referee promptly pointed to the spot for a penalty which Konan Nguoan slotted calmly, sending Iwu Emmanuel the wrong way for Rivers 1-0 victory as both sides concluded their Nigeria Professional Football League Matchday 19 encounter at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on Sunday.
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It was a game that could have gone either way but Kwara have themselves to blame for not delivering on several chances especially in the first half. Chief culprit would be Alao Danbani who had free reins in the opponent’s box but failed to make them count.
Rivers started the probe with Malachi Ohawume whipping a 7th minute scoring chance over the bar. Michael Enaruna had his turn, twice calling Iwu out but he pushed out brilliantly for corner kicks.
Kwara severally turned over the offensive starting with Dandani’s 9th minute attempt to breeze past Kunle Odunlami but he recovered to foil the move. Then came Joshua Agboola on the prance, forcing Rivers Keeper Abiodun Akande off his line to the save.
A scary moment came for the Port Harcourt fans when Ozor Phillip lost his man neatly and connected Dandani but he lost control right in the 6 yard box just as he fluffed many more chances.
Rivers got close to the lead just before the break with Cletus Emotan’s free kick which veered off target by inches. They however returned to increase their charges, putting Kwara almost completely on the back foot.
Their forays paid off when Emotan meandered in and was edged down for the penalty kick with which they scratched the lone but winning goal to go into the season break as viable contenders for the title.