Goals from Chigozie Ihunda and Obomate Frederick gave Rivers United a convincing 2-0 win over FC Ifeanyi Ubah in an exciting Nigeria Professional Football League game in Port Harcourt yesterday.
The United manager, Stanley Eguma made four changes from the side that lost 1-2 to Mountain of Fire (MFM) FC on Wednesday with Sunday Rotimi starting in goal.
Chiwendu Ali, Chigozie Ihunda, Festus Austin and Olalekan Gabriel were the four defenders who started on the day while Yusuf Jaiyeola and Christian Weli were saddled with duties of protecting the back four.
Wilson Andoh, Obomate Frederick and Bernard Ovoke all started in advanced midfield positions behind the lone striker, Guy Kuemian.
Mitko Dobrev, the FC Ifeanyi Ubah trainer, Mitko Dobrev opted to leave out Brazilian import, Walter Da Silva from the starting line up.
Onyekachi Akakem, Medrano Tamen and Bright Onyedikachi were the most prominent starters for the visitors.
United hardly threatened but took the lead on the stroke of half time through Chigozie Ihunda with a left footed effort which Edwin Nwakamma failed to keep out.
The home side made the points safe, 11 minutes after the restart through Obomate Frederick whose diving header from close range off Wilson Andoh’s right wing cross left Nwakamma with little chance.
FCIU sporadically threatened to find a route back into the game but met a stoic United backline in uncompromising mood.
Wilson Elu was presented with their best opportunity in the 65th minute but he dragged his effort wide with just Rotimi to beat.
Rotimi had to be alert seven minutes later to beat out Onyedikachi’s fierce drive from point blank range as the visitors cranked up the pressure.
Substitute, Godbless Asamoah missed a glorious opportunity to put some gloss on the score-line when he shot wide from just inside the box.
An extremely furious FCIU coach, Mitko Dobrev refused to speak to the media after the game but the United trainer, Eguma was more welcoming.
“It was a good game. We worked very hard for this game knowing that (FCIU) is a very strong side (as exemplified by the fact that) they picked up an away win in their last match.
“We knew they were going to give us a tough fight and that was what we saw (on Sunday).
“I thank my players for living up to expectations. It wasn’t an easy game but we were able to convert two out of our numerous chances,” he told the gathered media.
United have now amassed six out of a possible nine points from their opening three games of the season.
The Port Harcourt club next travels to Jos to face Giwa FC on Wednesday as the competition enters match day four.
MATCH DAY 3
Shooting Stars 3-0 MFM FC
Rivers United 2-0 IfeanyiUbah
Ikorodu FC 1-0 Lobi Stars
Heartland 0-1 Abia Warriors
Kano Pillars 2-1 Wikki Tourists
Plateau Utd 2-1 Warri Wolves
Rangers 2-1 Niger Tornadoes