By Fred Edoreh in Port Harcourt
With scores at 1-1 at regulation time with three minutes spent out of four minutes added time and FC IfeanyiUbah looking to steal away with a point from Port Harcourt, Efosa Eguakun brought out the long knife, masterminding a last minute attack from midfield and following up to deliver a clinical finish to give Rivers United a 2-1 win and maximum points.
The first goal of the Match-day 24 of the Nigeria Professional Football LeagueÂ (NPFL) came for Rivers United via a penalty in the 60th after Stephen Eze handled the ball in the box and Ayo Saka fired hard to leave Bamba Drissa no chance to save.
IfeanyiUbah however levelled up also through penalty while Prince Aggreh who came on for Godwin Obaje in the second half slotted in perfectly.
IfeanyiUbah had a great chance to increase their tally when Rivers keeper Akande Abiodun rushed as far as to the half way to stop a counter with all his defenders across the divide but the Nnewi boys failed to take their chance in the ensuing throw in.
The winner by Eguakun who came in the final quarter to replace Lukman Mohammed, was a huge relief for the Rivers fans and officials who were apprehensive of dropping points at home after loses in two successive games after their last continental outing.
With the victory, coach Stanley Eguma believes his team showed great character in fighting till the end and the win will boost the confidence of the players ahead of the coming games and back into their continental campaign.
Interestingly, it was Eguakun’s first game in a very long time and only second in the season.
Eguma explained that the player is easily the best and most experienced in his team but that he had kept him out for long because he was battling with fitness and also fell ill on his return.
Elsewhere on the evening, Niger Tornadoes goalkeeper Mustapha Aliko bemoaned the three goals he conceded against top-flight side Wikki Tourists.
The Ikon Allah Boys were beaten 1-3 by the Bauchi Elephants in Sundayâ€™s NPFL Match-day 24 clash at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium (ATBS) in Bauchi.
Goals off the foot of the trio of Chinedu Onyelonu, Victor Alegbe and Ahmed Usman were enough to hand the Bauchi landlords the three points at stake while Andrew Ikefe scored the consolation for the Minna outfit.
Aliko said his side may have paid the costly prize for underrating their hosts based on the performance in Lokoja.
â€œI think we truly underrated Wikki Tourists and erroneously thought they would be pushovers based on their performance in the first-fixture clash in Lokoja.
â€œWe beat them 2-0 in Lokaja after two successive draws and that encounter was our easiest match in the first term.
â€œHowever, they shocked us in todayâ€™s (Sunday) clash with an improved performance that left us really stunned.
â€œWikki Tourists were brilliant and perfect in the first half though we rose to challenge them greatly in the second half.
Â â€œItâ€™s a bad result but we will quickly go back to plan ahead on how to reclaim the points in the next match against champions Enugu Rangers,â€ said the Niger Tornadoes captain and shot stopper to supersport.com.
The loss at Wikki Tourists leaves Tornadoes’ total earnings at 36 points from possible 72 in the 24-week-old top-flight.
Plateau Utd 5-1 Gombe
Remo 1-0 Nasarawa
MFM FC 1-0 Shooting
Rangers 1-0 Akwa Utd
Rivers Utd 2-1 IfeanyiUbah
Katsina Utd 3-0 El Kanemi
Wikki 3-1 Tornadoes
Kâ€™Pillars 3-1 Sunshine
ABS FC 1-0 Lobi
Enyimba 2-1 Abia Warriors
Ghana 5-0 Ethiopia
Zimbabwe 3-0 Liberia
Benin 1-0 Gambia
Cape Verde 0-1 Uganda
Câ€™Afr Rep. 2-1 Rwanda
UNDER-20 WORLD CUP
England 1-0 Venezuela