Nyima Nwagua’s first-half strike was all that separated Rivers United and Lobi Stars at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt as the Stars were defeated 1-0 in a midweek feature played yesterday (Wednesday 7th April).
Nyima netted at the 15th-minute mark to make the difference, and despite sustained pressure in the second 45, the Pride of Rivers couldn’t add to the scoreline.
Rivers United started the game the brightest of the two sides, but Emeka Onyia did well to prevent an early opener. Ebube Duru dinked a cross over the defence to Denis Ndasi, but the Cameroonian goal-bound header was saved. Not long after, Morice Chukwu missed the target narrowly when his shot from a free-kick 25 yards out sealed over the bar.
The early pressure from the Stanley Eguma tutored side eventually paid off and it was Nyima Nwagua who broke the deadlock in a scintillating fashion. Denis Ndasi’s long ball found Nyima Nwagua who combined well with Chijioke Akuneto to shoot pass Emeka Onyia with his left foot. His 4th goal of the current campaign.
Rivers United continued to control the tempo, but Lobi Stars had potential on the counter but found the back four of Kazie Eyinnaya, Ebube Duru, Fabian Nworie and Denis Ndasi too solid to penetrate in the first 45.
Utim Geoffrey looked to spark a counterattack after the restart driving forward before Denis Ndasi earned his yellow by fouling the midfielder. There was also a caution for Lobi Stars Moses Teshuan.
With the game approaching the final 20 minutes, Lobi Stars were managing to get into the final third more but the introduction of George Akpabio, Yusuf Omotayo, Bernard Ovoke and Fortune Omoniwari from the bench helped Rivers United to increase the attacking fluidity. The excellent transitional play of the Pride of Rivers with Morice Chukwu, Chiamaka Madu, Yufus Omotayo, Nelson Esor and Bernard Ovoke brought the fans to their feet as they were entertained with football artistry.
Just before the final whistle, Lobi Stars’ youngster, Ifeanyi Ogba was given the marching order for a reckless foul on Denis Ndasi.
Rivers United Technical Manager Stanley Eguma
“It was a difficult match, highly tactical. We got our goal very early in the game and one would have expected us to get more goals but I think the players rested on that and couldn’t push further to the end of the first half.
“In the second half, we came all out trying to push further to get more goals but it couldn’t come. I thank God and the players for the victory. We will take it from here.” Coach Stanley Eguma
The rearrangement of Rivers United’s matchday 22 away tie against Katsina United to 27th April means the Pride of Rivers will return to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) action on 17th April when they host Enyimba FC.