Bakary Bamba and Guy Kuemian scored either side of half time to inspire Rivers United to a richly-deserved 2-1 victory over Kano Pillars in the Nigeria Professional Football League on Sunday.
In-form Junior Lokosa scored Pillars’ consolation just after the half hour mark as the “Pride of Rivers” overpowered “Sai Masu Gida” 2-1 in a compelling contest decided at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt.
It was billed as the “star match” of Match Day Three of the NPFL and it didn’t disappoint.
An enthralling team move saw Ojobo break free on the right hand channel and the marauding right back proceeded to deliver an inch-perfect cross to the onrushing Bakari Bamba who connected sweetly with a first time volley that flew into the top corner past a shell-shocked Obiazor.
It was a world-class goal that saw the stadium erupt in mass hysteria but Pillars were back on level terms, 14 minutes later, albeit against the run of play.
Kuemian scored the game’s decisive goal on 56 minutes but United could and should have scored a lot more than the two they managed on the night.
United’s technical manager, Stanley Eguma, spoke to the club’s official website after the game, revealing that his half time team talk proved decisive in the end.
“We studied our opponents and at half time, we discussed their loop holes and the areas where they were giving us problems,” Eguma said.
“I spoke to the players and told them that we had to up our game and they heeded to the instructions,” he explained.
Pillars’ captain, Chinedu Udoji, also discussed his side’s display in the post-match press conference.
Udoji said: “Congratulations to Rivers United for their three points but we (Kano Pillars) did not play well today.
“That is the honest truth because this is not how we play.
“Today (Sunday) was not a good day for us; we just have to go home and plan and focus on our next game.”
Sunday’s result means that United move up to eighth on the log with six points from a possible nine while Pillars have amassed four points from their first three matches.
Abia W. 1 – 0 Plateau Utd
Akwa Utd 2 – 0 Yobe Stars
El Kanemi 3 – 1 MFM FC
Heartland 0 – 1 Rangers
Ifeanyi Ubah 2 – 0 Kwara Utd
Katsina Utd 2 – 0 Enyimba
Lobi Stars 1 – 0 Go Round
Nasarawa Utd 2 – 0 Sunshine
Rivers Utd 2 – 1 Kano Pillars
Wikki Tourist 1 – 0 Tornadoes.