By Ekpor Temple
A late spot-kick awarded to Sunshine Stars by the centre Referee and scored by substitute Ajibola Otegbeye in the 83rd minute ensured Rivers United did not win against the Owena Babes from Akure.
Ossy Martins slotted home from the spot in the 69th after a Sunshine defender dragged down Wasiu Jimoh in the box. Bright Onyedikachi was later sent off via straight red card for an intentional foul. While Rivers United tried to recover, the centre referee awarded what was termed ‘a dubious penalty’ that caused uproar at the stadium leaving the home side bemused and angered.
Stanley Eguma, the Rivers United Gaffer spoke with nigerianfootballer.com after the match.
“I think we prepared for the game, Sunshine is also a good side, they tried but I think we should have won the game. At a time when we scored through a penalty, the game was going normal until we got a penalty against us. First and foremost, it was not a red card as my player did not deserve the booking, I wonder why he was exited via the card.”
Reacting to the penalty awarded against his team Eguma said “To my greatest dismay, I don’t know how come about the penalty that was given against us but the referee knows the best,” He told NigerianFootballer.com.
“I don’t agree, the issue is that the game of football is not the same as solving mathematics. When they come to Port Harcourt they always have a good game but that does not mean that Sunshine Stars cannot lose in our home,” he said.
Meanwhile, Coach Kabiru Dogo congratulated his boys for playing very well and earning a vital point against Rivers United.
“First let me thank God, and also thank my players for putting up a good show and still maintaining our streak against Rivers United. Port Harcourt has always been our ground, even in pre-season the Wike Cup we were the champion. One has to commend the officiating. Last week we lost at home to Enugu Rangers, nothing happened, they should allow the game to flow like that, kudos to both teams for a work well done,” he told Nigerianfootballer.com
|Enyimba’s Theophilus Afelokhai had a good game against Lobi Stars|
Rangers continue fine run
Elsewhere, Enugu Rangers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium continued their consistent form as they won 1-0 against MFM in a keenly contested battle at home courtesy of a Pascal Seka goal on the 37th minute.
This win further strengthens their lead as group toppers with 31 points, 6 points above 2nd placed Enyimba who played out a goalless game away to Lobi Stars at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi.
Luck or nay for Go Round FC?
Heartland’s manager, Ransom Madu says Go Round FC were lucky to pick the three points at stake in Sunday League game but Willy Udube is happy he ended up the winner.
2-1 it ended for Go Round FC after Rilwan Sadiq and Adelani Adeseun scored either side of an Uche Oguchi equaliser on a rain-soaked Krisdera Hotel Stadium pitch, but Udube agrees that a good side may not play well under such rainy conditions.
“Rains do not determine if good football will be played. If you have a good team and it starts raining you may start playing what you are not taught. This is the first time we are playing under these kinds of conditions,” Udube said.
But Heartland FC may have been the first beneficiary of the rains that started at the half time break.
It was Ololade Rilwan Sadiq that opened scores after thirty-eight seconds on a very dry pitch.
Chiegbonam Nwogbaga had almost fumbled the ball on the right side of the Go Round FC attack and his back-heeled pass to overlapping Ebuka Akobundu seemed a short one. When it seemed all hopes were lost on the defender getting to the pass, he actually did and crossed into the box for Sadiq to head beyond Godwin Ameh in goal for Heartland. Ameh was on the books of Go Round FC last season.
Go Round seemed the better side in the first half but clear cut chances from both sides were very few and far between.
Ransom Madu would hear none of it as he left the venue believing his side was hard-done by the rains.
“First of all the loss was a very painful one because of the way we conceded the second goal. Apart from that, it was a good match. The rain disturbed but the two teams played well,” Madu said.
“We were here to collect the points but unfortunately we did not make it.
The rains ruined our plans for today. I am not saying the rain-affected just us (Heartland), I will say they are lucky to win. They are just lucky to carry the day.”
But the first beneficiary of the luck had to be Heartland FC whose equaliser in the 51st minute was due to the wet and slippery pitch mostly. When Uche Oguchi stepped up to take the free kick, the Go Round FC keeper, Godwin Dede did not factor in the rains and the wetness of the pitch.
The ball sailed above the wall, then bounced in front of the goalkeeper and sped off far away from him into the bottom left corner of the post. It was helped by a little deflection off Chiegbonam Nwogbagba, an own goal, then.
In the 77th minute, Go Round FC had a free kick in their own half of the pitch. Morice Chukwu played the ball straight into the opposition penalty area. And without letting the ball bounce, Adeseun Adelani volleyed home beyond the reach of a hapless goalkeeper, Godwin Ameh.
|Go Round FC’s Adeseun Adelani scored his 4th League goal this season against Heartland|
Other results of matches played
Go Round 2-1 Heartland
Kano Pillars 1-1 Gombe United
Kwara United 0-0 Bendel Insurance
Lobi Star 0-0 Eyimba
Nasarawa United 5-1Elkanemi Warriors
Plateau United 3-0 Akwa United
Remo Stars 0-0 Niger Tornadoes
Rivers United 1-1 Sunshine Stars
Wikki Tourist 1-0 Katsina United
Yobe Desert Stars 2-0 FC Ifeanyi Ubah
Enugu Rangers 1-0 MFM
Delta Force 1-0 Abia Warriors