RIvers United
PHOTO CREDIT: NPFL

Chijioke Akuneto benefited from a defensive mistake to score a vital goal on the brink of half time as Rivers United forced Remo Stars to a 1-1 stalemate that left the two teams still undefeated after nine rounds of matches in the 2021-22 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) campaign.

The top-of-the-table clash saw both teams level on points going into the Matchday 9 fixture at the Remo Stars Stadium, but the Pride of Rivers occupied the top spot of the table on superior goals difference.

Remo Stars lost in all their previous four league matches against Rivers United, and head coach Gbenga Ogunbote looked to change that after he made two changes to the team that started in Monday’s goalless result away at Enugu Rangers.

Ekundayo Ojo and Samuel Anakwe replaced Kamal Sikiru and Tolulope Ojo in the lineup. Meanwhile, Rivers United stuck with the same team that raced to a two goals lead at half time against Heartland on Monday.

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However, the Sky Blue Stars opened the scoring early in the 10th minute when Ifegwu Ojukwu broke free down the right channel and the former Sunshine Stars forward sent in a dangerous cross that evaded everyone except Andy Okpe who ran to tap in the ball at the far end.

RIvers United

The goal put the home fans in jubilant mood, and that looked set to last till half time until a moment of howler by the goalkeeper handed Rivers United a lifeline.

Kayode Bankole had failed to clear a routine back pass and Chijioke Akuneto showed great composure to feign a sliding defender before slotting the ball into an empty net for a 43rd-minute equalizer.

The second half got underway with the hosts showing more intent through a speculative effort from Ojukwu, but they came closest to a winner when Junior Nduka’s free kick from 25 yards bounced off the crossbar in the 53rd minute.

Rivers United deployed a resolute tactics that snuffed out the several advances of the Sky Blue Stars as both teams settled for a stalemate – a result that left Rivers United still clinging to the top spot while they maintain an unbeaten record of five games against Remo Stars in the NPFL.

SOURCE: NPFL

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