Coach Stanley Eguma has saluted the character of new Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) leaders Rivers United after they fought back from a goal down to beat Warri Wolves 3-1 at the weekend.
The home win catapulted the Port Harcourt club to the top of the table at the expense of Rangers, who pounded them 4-0 the previous weekend.
Rivers United now have 56 points from 33 matches while Enugu Rangers slipped to second place on 54 points after they lost 2-1 at Shooting Stars. IfeanyiUbah defeated Akwa United 2-0 to move to third spot on the table with 53 points. They leap frog Wikki, who slip to fourth.
“It was not easy but I thank the players for their character. It was impressive coming from behind to win in such a resounding manner,” Eguma said.
“However, it is not over yet because the other clubs around us are very close.”
Goals from Godwin Obinze, Bernard Ovoke and Guy Kuemian were all Rivers United needed in a come-from-behind win over Warri Wolves.
United were without captain Festus Austin, who failed a late fitness test following the injury he picked up a week ago.
In his absence, United struggled initially to assert themselves at the rear and conceded in the 28thminute, when the impressive Kelvin Itoya struck unerringly to hand the visitors a shock lead.
United however reacted gamely and struck back with two goals before the half was up.
Obinze surprised everyone in the stadium with an absolute belter from range for his first goal of the season to level matters in the 34th minute.
Six minutes later, United edged ahead through pin-up boy Ovoke, who fired home from close range to send the visitors reeling.
Kuemian headed home a late third for the hosts following an intelligent delivery by left back Ofem Inah.
There were also away losses for front runners Wikki Tourists and champions Enyimba.
Wikki lost 2-1 at Nasarawa United after a stoppage time winner by Aminu Kadir, while Enyimba fell 1-0 at Niger Tornadoes courtesy of a penalty goal by Solomon Owello.
The Tornadoes vs Enyimba game was full of drama – Enyimba midfielder Dare Ojo was sent off and an Enyimba official dashed into the pitch to punch the referee.
In Ibadan, goals by Ajani Ibrahim and Ifegwu Ojukwu gave hosts Shooting Stars a 2-0 lead, before Chisom Egbuchulam pulled a goal back for Rangers in the 81st minute.
Both teams finished this game with 10 men after Rangers defender Chibuzor Madu was sent off for a professional foul and later Moses James of 3SC also saw red.
Sunshine Stars turned back Plateau United 3-1, while bottom team Ikorodu United upstaged Kano Pillars 4-1.
The match between MFM and Lobi Stars in Lagos played yesterday morning after it rained off on Saturday gave the host a breathing space as the Olukoya Boys won the game 3-1. It was their first victory in eight games.