By Sanipe Damiete
A solitary strike in the 34th minute by Godwin Aguda returned Rivers United to winning ways as they pipped hard fighting Sunshine Stars 1-0 at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
Having suffered an embarrassing 0-3 defeat to Lobi Stars in their last game and desperate to get back to winning ways, Rivers United met a very resilient side in Sunshine Stars that have also been low in confidence owing to string of poor results lately. Both sides were thus looking to turn their fortunes around with the fixture.
The opening moments was cagey with both sides throwing all they had at each other but it was Sunshine Stars that almost got the opener in the fifth minute.
A misunderstanding at Rivers United’s back presented Sadeeq Yusuf with a clear sight at goal but goalkeeper Egbe Ospino quickly rushed out of his line, narrowing the angle and eventually making a good save from Yusuf’s attempt.
Sunshine Stars continued to press forcing their host to errors and it almost paid off when Ospino took too much time to clear a routine back pass in the 16th minute. The goalkeeper in trying to clear the ball hit the ball on an opposing player and the ball was destined to go in but lost momentum giving Ospino time to recover the ball.
Rivers United finally took control of the game midway in the half, dictating the pace and creating half chances and in one of such moves they broke the deadlock in the 34th minute when a scramble after several blocked shots presented Aguda with an opportunity from a loose ball in Sunshine’s box. The attacker precisely buried the ball to the far left post to give the homers the opener and only goal of the day.
Sunshine Stars fought back but could not create something of note apart from a low screamer from the edge of the box by Sadeeq Yusuf which was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Ospino. The first half ened 1-0.
The second half continued in the same pattern as the first as both sides pushed for goals but chances became fewer despite the several changes made by both gaffers.
Substitute Esor Nelson made immediate impact in the 54th minute when he initiated a good team move from the centre and received the ball in the box after two other players had contributed to the flow of the ball. With a player in between, he managed a fierce shot that forced goalkeeper Okafor to a one hand save.
Esor also came close in the 74th minute when he received a pass in the box but his attempt was weak and straight at goalkeeper Okafor.
Sunshine Stars fought hard for an equalizer that never came while Rivers United also failed in their bid to double the lead. But they would hold on to their lead and maintain their 100 per cent home win in the 2020/2021 season, the only side yet to drop a point at home.