Rivers United have defeated Abia Warriors by a lone goal in the Match Day 2 of the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) at the Enyimba Stadium.
Warriors who lost their first game of the season to Enyimba came out of the blocks like wounded lions to secure the maximum points.
In the 8th minute, Markson Ojobo and Nzube Anaezemba combined well to open the scoring but the Rivers United backline were alert to avert danger.
Not deterred by the resolute defence, Adeleke Adekunle in the 12th minute failed to utilise the goal-scoring opportunity. Two minutes later, Warriors defender, Ojobo was at alert to prevent Rivers’ Fortune Omoniwari from scoring.
However, in the 20th minute, all efforts to stop in-form Omoniwari failed as he neatly placed the ball into the bottom right corner beyond the outstretched hands of Warriors goalkeeper, Ojo Olorunleke to score his second goal of the season.
Omoniwari has now scored three consecutive goals – Bloemfontein Celtic, Enugu Rangers and now, Abia Warriors. He has also set the record of being the player that scored the last NPFL goal of 2020 and the first NPFL goal of 2021.
In the 22nd minute, Abia Warriors penalty appeal was turned down by the referee, Tekena Garando but continued to search for the elusive equalising goal.
At the restart of the second half, Warriors trio of Nzube Anaezemba, Paul Samson and Tekena Garando combined to conjure up a chance but Samson’s attempt hit the woodwork agonizingly.
The home side continued to dominate the proceedings but failed to take the few chances that came their way.
In the 63rd minute, the visitors spurned a beautiful opportunity to extend their lead when Bakary Bamba’s shot was off target after dribbling past two Warriors defenders and was clean on goal.
As the game wore on, Warriors coach, Imama Amapakabo effected some changes in a desperate bid to avoid the second loss of the game.
In the 73rd minute, Rivers Utd were down to 10 men when Nelson Esor received his marching order for a poorly-timed tackle.
With a numerical advantage, Warriors poured forward and in the 80th minute, a long pass by Adeleke Adekunle picked out Tekena who squared to Obioma whose cheeky backheel attempt at goal was pushed to safety by GK Abiodun Akande.
In the 89th minute, Warriors had the chance to share the spoils but Adekunle’s header was parried away by Akande against the woodwork for a last-minute corner kick as the game ended 1-0.