Rivers Utd grind out 1-0 win over Abia Warriors to ease pressure

By Promise Etim

Rivers United for the first time this season in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) won back-to-back games after scraping to a 1-0 victory over Abia Warriors at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium on Sunday.

The Port Harcourt club had made light work of ABS FC four days ago on same ground with a 2-0 win.

This time Bolaji Sakin was in the thick of things for Rivers United in their 1-0 win over visiting Abia Warriors in one of the nine Matchday 18 fixtures.

The home side, who were without head coach Stanley Eguma for a second consecutive game, left out some of their first team players for the game against Abdullahi Biffo's men. Sunday Adetunji led the visitors attack, with a view of reaching double figures after the matchday.

Rivers United asked early questions, forcing three saves off Agbor Ekoi inside 10 minutes. But the visitors almost got the better of the Port Harcourt side in the seventh minute, when Adetunji squared the ball to the path of Ndifreke Effiong, who amazingly failed to make it count from a one-on-one situation.

Sakin's clever run on 30 minutes was the magic the home side needed to get their noses in front, as Chinedu Efugh clipped his feet, leaving the referee with no choice than to point to the spot. Emeka Ogbugh stepped in to plant the resultant spot kick onto the roof.

After Ogbugh's goal from the spot, the visitors were forced to withdraw goalkeeper Ekoi for Chinedu Anozie. The former got injured, while attempting to stop Ogbugh's spot kick.

Five minutes after the restart, Rotimi Sunday's quick intervention, kept his side's advantage. The former Plateau United goalkeeper raced out swiftly to halt Adetunji's header, leaving Bashir Sheriff with a glorious opportunity to draw Abia Warriors level, but the winger would only misjudge the rebound.

Rivers United edged closer to doubling their advantage in the 75th minute, when Sakin's freekick was headed inches wide by Nzube Anaezemba. The home side kept their cool and defended in numbers to deny Abia Warriors any opportunity of leaving Port Harcourt on a positive note.

With the result, Rivers United move to 16th on the log, having amassed 21 points from 16 games, with two outstanding games while Abia Warriors drop to sixth place.

Match Stats
Shots: 6-3
On Target: 2-1
Fouls won: 18-17
Corners: 7-0
Yellow: 3-2
Red: 0-0
Offsides: 1-1
Saves: 0-2

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