Kwara United Football Club survived early scare to beat Rivers United Football Club 2-1 in a Matchday 26 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) encounter decided yesterday at the Main-Bowl of the Kwara State Stadium Complex, to break a long time jinx against the Port Harcourt based club.
Nelson Esor surprised the home fans by scoring the first goal as early as three minutes into the game, and that may have brought out the very best off Kwara United who responded immediately, but could not score from the many chances created in the first half
Kwara United brought in highly mesmerizing Ayobami Junior for Stephen Jude, and the former Shooting Stars player tidied the midfield, and that increased the attacking options for Kwara United.
Samad Kadri was also introduced early in the second half, and 11 minutes after his introduction, he scored the equalizer.
The introduction of Akinade Moses and Issa Gata, in place of Junior Lokosa and Alao Danbani respectively reduced Rivers United to playing in their halves alone, and relying on ocassional breakthroughs.
Kwara United scored the winning goal in the 75th minute, through Jide Fatokun, who nodded home a well taken free-kick from Afeez Nosiru.
Speaking with journalists after the match, Kwara United defender, Deji Bamidele saluted the courage and determination of his teammates, in winning the jinx breaking encounter, despite conceding a three minute goal.
“We know the history between the two clubs, and we were determined to give everything because we know what was at stake for us.
“We unfortunately conceded the first goal early into the game, but that was like the motivation that propelled us to give our very best. I give kudos to my teammates for their efforts.
“I also want to thank our fans and supporters, and also want to charge them to continue to support us till the end of the season, because we have a target which we need to meet.
“We still have 13 matches to go. We hope to continue to break record, make history, and that’s part of football. For us, we will continue to give our best”, he added.
Kwara United defeated Rivers United last time in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in 2015, and this season, they lost 3-0 to Rivers United in the first round at the Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium, in Port Harcourt.