It was another late strike from the wards of coach Olugbenga Ogunbote as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ earned a hard fought victory over visiting Rivers United with Chidera Ezeh stabbing in the back breaking goal on 85 minutes off a beautiful cut-back from FIFA World cup star, Michael Uchebo.
The injury plagued host had started the match day 21 NPFL 2018/2019 fixture more purposeful with little pressure owing to the fact that they have already picked a ticket to the end of season ‘Super-Six’ with Uchebo combining well with Godwin Aguda, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke and Chidera Ezeh but were unlucky not to have been ahead in the first quarter of the encounter watched by a very appreciative crowd of spectators inside Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium.
Isaac Loute watched in awe as his freekick from the edge of the box crashed against the cross bar and went out on 7 minutes while Uchebo and the spectators were bemused on 12 minutes when they thought that Festus Austin clipped the feet of the attacking sensation inside the box after he was free on goal by Aguda by the referee thought otherwise.
Drissa Bamba, in goal for the visitors produced a world class save on 24 minutes to deny Chidera Ezeh’ effort after Ugochukwu had set him up while Rangers’ Japhet Opubo had to be at his best on the stroke of half time to beat out a Bamba Bakary’ disguised shot from over twenty-five yards.
When both sides came back from the break, it was the turn of the host’ backline to work extra hard to contain the coach Stanley Eguma wards as Isiaka Oladuntoye, Akpos Adubi, Isaac Loute and Tony Shimaga did well to stop Bright Onyedikachi, Wasiu Jimoh and Cletus Emotan from causing any havoc.
With the match seemingly headed for a draw after Bright Onyedikachi saw his well struck free kick on 76 minutes from over twenty-five meters crashed onto the cross bar while Wasiu Jimoh could not explain his missed effort on 80 minutes with only the goalkeeper at his mercy, substitute, Felix Ogbuke collected a loss ball from the center circle, floated it to Chiamaka Madu who found Uchebo inside the vital area who danced past two markers to place an inch perfect pass for onrushing Chidera Ezeh to drill in the only goal of the encounter that was greeted with wild jubilation by the fans.
With two minutes into added time, the visitors had an opportunity to pull the chest nut out of the burning fire as Emotan Cletus failed to make hay while the sun shine as he watched agonizingly his shot creep over the face of the goal for a harmless goal kick.