Rivers United clutched a lone strike from new signing Ayo Saka at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt to beat Nasarawa United 1-0 in a matchday 20 game in the Nigerian Professional Football League.
Nasarawa United had the first obvious chance of the game in the 25th minute when a pillaging run and hurled pass by Emmanuel Makama finds Ocheme Edoh unmarked at the back post, his shot was spared by Rivers United goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi.
Thinking Edoh was offside when he discharged the shot, Rotimi and Austine kept running towards the linesman challenging why the official why he didn’t flag an offside, Ref Olayombo did nothing to compensate their protest than issued both players yellow cards.
The home side had Rotimi and Festus booked for dispute, taking after a decision that went Nassarawa’s way. but the encounter got twisted in the 32nd minute, when Festus superfluously took care of the ball in the middle, leaving the ref with no decision than to streak him a second booking that prompted his sending off. The episode gave Kabiru Dogo’s men a favourable advantage.
Regardless of being a man down, settling on a hostile and offensive approach. The gamble paid off in the 39th minute when Zoumana Doumbia’s pass got new debutant Saka, who controlled consummately and smashed home from 12 yards to put the host ahead.
John Odumegwu could have multiplied the lead for Rivers United however his shot was saved by Suraj Ayeleso in goal for Nasarawa United.
At the start of the second half, Rivers United shielded forcefully to deny the visitors any chance of getting an equaliser with the lone strike from Saka enough to secure three maximum points.
With the win, Rivers United are up to eleventh on the table with 27 points while Nasarawa United stay in 9th position with same points but goal difference.
Stanley Eguma rolled out four changes to the side that lost in Tunisia in the CAF Confederations Cup to Club Africain a week ago. Austine who missed the game came in for Joseph Douhadji, while Frederick Obomate, Ifeanyi Nweke and Guy Kuemian start ahead of Nzube Anaezemba, Markson Ojobo and Bolaji Sakin.
Nasarawa United boss Kabiru Dogo call back Emmanuel Makama, Ishaya Anyu once more into the side and gave an introduction to Ocheme Edoh who as of late joined the Solid Miners from Rangers International.
Rivers will resume action in the Confederations Cup next Wednesday when they host Moroccan side FUS Rabat to the Yakubu Gowon Stadium while Nasarawa United are at home to Wikki Tourists.