Rivers United beat Remo Stars to top group A of NPFL

Ugochukwu Iwuchukwu

Wasiu Jimoh was the hero for the ten-man Rivers United as he prodded home from close range to score at the dying minutes of the game to earn a win for the Pride of Rivers.

Kennedy Boboye, head coach of Remo Stars, looked to the heavens, for a few seconds, as though seeking answers to the dramatic events that unfolded on the pitch while the United players mobbed Jimoh, as they celebrated as a band of brothers.

The Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma made three changes to the side that beat MFM 1-0 on Sunday with Gbadebo Samson, Kehinde Adedipe and Ugochukwu Leonard coming in for Emotan Cletus, Temple Emekayi and Obomate Frederick who was bereaved following the death of his Father on Tuesday.

Jimoh quickly got into the swing of things as he got on the end of a sweeping move by the hosts only to see his goal-bound shot on seven minutes deflected away for a corner.

The visitors then responded in similar fashion two minutes later as Kingsley Akemiri’s back heel completely carved open the hosts’ backline with the goalkeeper, Drissa Bamba badly exposed.

Victor Mboama was the man saddled with the responsibility of pulling the trigger from point-blank range but his stinging drive was pushed away for a corner by the exemplary Bamba.

It was a wonderfully open first half that was sometimes marred by profligacy.

One of such moments arrived on the quarter hour when Jimoh stormed down the by-line to deliver an inch-perfect cross which Ugochukwu Leonard somehow failed to reach when the faintest of touches at the opportune moment would have seen United open the scoring.

It was a game of extraordinarily high levels of tension as the chances continued to come and go for both sides with the hosts notably enjoying a superior territorial advantage.

Substitute, Cletus Emotan had a glorious chance to win it five minutes before the end but scuffed his shot from six yards, with the Remo Stars goalkeeper, Emmanuel Fabiyi at his mercy from close range.

With the time allocated for stoppages running out, many of the home fans started leaving the Stadium in disappointment but Jimoh stopped them in their tracks with a moment forever to be etched in the history of the football club.

“The only that was going through my mind (just before I scored) was that I was going to score,” an elated Jimoh told newsmen after the dramatic contest.

“I also told myself that if I didn’t score, then we would score. Towards the end of the game, we were pushing hard.

“We played like a team that wanted to score so before the end of the game, I had the self-belief that a goal was going to come,” he said.

Eguma also shared his thoughts on a game that will not be forgotten in a hurry.

“It was very interesting and a tough game but I had a team that was equal to the task.

“I studied our opponents and saw that as the game progressed, they were getting weaker and weaker so I had to make some substitutions and brought in fast players who put the pressure more on them.

“Even after we got a Red card when it was still goalless, I wasn’t perturbed because I knew the pressure was still on them and that they would crumble and that was exactly what played out at the nick of time,” Eguma said.

Remo Stars’ head coach, Boboye didn’t speak to the media after the defeat.
Wednesday’s win was enough to take United to the top of Group A of the NPFL with eight points from four matches.

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