After an early scare from Rivers United threatened to extend their seven season dominance of Kwara United, Samad Kadiri came off the bench to inspire the Ilorin side to a 2-1 win one Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) MatchDay 26 fixture in Ilorin.
The last time Kwara United defeated Rivers United in the NPFL was in the 2015/16 season and the Port Harcourt side had already won the reverse fixture 3-0. That they perch atop the league log provided another worries to most Ilorin fans who thronged the Township Stadium for the holiday eve game.
For Kwara United defender, Deji Bamidele, it was a match they dug deep to trigger needed courage and determination to win and break the jinx after conceding as early as in the third minute.
Bamidele sat down to review the match with the npfl media and began by saying, “We know the history between the two clubs, and we were determined to give everything because we know what was at stake for us.
He admitted that they were rattled by the early goal but also insisted it worked more to increase their determination not to lose.
“We unfortunately conceded the first goal early into the game, but that was like the motivation that propelled us to give our very best. I give kudos to my teammates for their efforts.”
Bamidele recognises the role their fans have played in their numerous wins especially at home and is encouraging them not to relent.
“I also want to thank our fans and supporters, and also want to charge them to continue to support us till the end of the season, because we have a target which we need to meet.
Nelson Esor had scored after just three minutes when he capitalised on a failed attempt by Dele Aiyenugba to punch a cross to safety, pushing the ball to the path of the Rivers United’s attacker.
The introduction of Ayobami Junior by Kwara United in the 42nd minute solidified the hosts midfield and increased their attacking options.
Samad Kadri was also introduced at the beginning of the restart and he levelled the scores in the 57th minute while cashing in on Rivers United’s defensive error.
The introduction of Akinade Moses and Issa Gata, in place of Junior Lokosa and Alao Danbani respectively further pegged Rivers United to their half.
Kwara United scored the winning goal in the 75th minute, through Jide Fatokun, who nodded home a well taken free-kick from Afeez Nosiru.