Rivers Angels goalkeeper and stand-in captain, Tochukwu Oluehi was the heroine of the day as the Port Harcourt side held their hosts, Delta Queens to stalemate in a match day one of the Nigeria Women Premier League at the Kwale Township stadium on Wednesday.
Center referee, Maryann Usman from Kogi had awarded a penalty to Delta Queens eight minutes into added time when one of the hosts players had fallen inside the box.
Substitute, Ijeh Elvemuwor stepped up to take the spot kick but Oluehi pulled a brilliant double save to savage a point for the Jewel of Rivers.
Angels had a chance in the 9th minute when Amaechi Ojini beat goalkeeper Onuegbu Ufuoma in the 18 yard box but missed her foot as the defenders of the hosts rushed to clear.
In the 25th minute, the hosts won a free kick at the far end of the box but a well built Angels wall blocked the kick.
Five minutes before half time, Ezenagu Maryann make a good run to place a cross to Ajuyah Jennifer but Oluehi calmly handled to keep things at bay as both sides headed to the locker room.
In the 73rd minute, the hosts once again won a free kick at the edge of the box and Oluehi saved the direct kick from Ezenagu.
The Jewel of Rivers came close to breaking the deadlock in the 83rd minute when Mary Ologbosere placed a cross inside the box but an on rushing Hannah Yusuf’s shot went wide.
And two minutes later, Delta Queens got another free kick outside the box with Ezenagu stepping up to take it as Oluehi safely handles.
Five minutes was added after regulation time and two minutes into the added time, Ibinabo Georgewill slotted in what should have been the winner for Edwin Okon’s side but the late goal was bluntly ruled offside by referee Usman.
After the game, Rivers Angels head coach, Edwin Okon could not hide his disappointment with the match officials.
The former Super Falcons handler advised the Nigeria Women Football League board to ensure they assign competent officials to matches.
“We can’t continue to keep having these referees spoil games for teams,” said Okon.
“Referees should always allow teams enjoy the game by delivering quality officiating.
” What was wrong with the goal we got? The gaffer questioned.
Okon however did not fail to commend the dodgedness of his girls in spite of the poor officiating.
“I am really impressed with the performance of my girls today because they didn’t only play against the hosts team but also against the match officials,” he continued.
“My team held on till the end to ensure we savaged something,” Okon concluded.
The Jewel of Rivers will head back home to prepare for their next game against newly promoted side, Sure Babes on April 18 at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.