Rivers United nicked a hard-fought draw in Kano against Jigawa Golden Stars to go joint top of the table with Plateau United after a Festus Austin late own goal cancelled Cletus Emotan early first-half strike in the MatchDay 16 of the 2019/2020 NPFL season at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano on Monday.
The visitors believed they have won the game as the 14th minute Cletus Emotan strike gave them the opening goal, but the home side fought back in the second half to nick a late equalizer few minutes to go, when Mujaheed Ibrahim’s strike was turned into the net by skipper Festus Austin for an own goal.
The Badaru Boys, who had earlier lost at home to Plateau United and Akwa United, were wary of losing all points to another United side and eager to win to get out of relegation.
Thus, they started the match with all seriousness but were jittery in the midfield and misfiring in the attack.
As early as the third minute they had their first chance at goal but it went begging. Three minutes later, Moshood Kasali sprung the offside trap and was face to face with the keeper but had his efforts saved twice by Akande Abiodun in Rivers United goal.
But against the run of play, Rivers opened the scoring when Emotan latched onto a pass in the box to tap home.
The goal energized the visitors but woke up Jigawa who fought back like raging bull with Kasali Moshood shooting wide when given a good chance.
Ali Kalla was next to waste a counter-attack effort in the second half. Ishaq Rafiu drew out a save from Kenneth Christopher in Jigawa Stars’ goal, as Ali Kalla again shot wide.
Rivers’ Stephen Gopey dribbled past the Jigawa defence before cutting back for his teammate but the pass was cut out for a corner kick.
Substitute Mujaheed Ibrahim and Pascal Eke had two shots cleared on the goal line before the equalizer came. Efforts by both sides to clinch the winner were abortive.
Speaking after the match, Jigawa Stars Coach, Rabiu Tata commended his players for their fighting spirit, while assuring their fans that they will fight their way out of relegation.
“I appreciate the way the players played. We are in the relegation zone but we will find our way out. Playing away from our home in Kano affects us but we have to adapt to the situation we found ourselves. I appreciate the Kano fans.”
For Rivers United Coach, Stanley Eguma, they came for the three points but Jigawa deserved a share of the points.