Rivers United striker Guy Kuemian scored his second goal of the season to help his side defeat Kano Pillars 2-1 on Sunday.
Midfielder Bamba Bakari gave the pride of Rivers the lead on 20 minutes before Junior Lokosa drew Kano Pillars level when he pounced on a mistake by Gabriel Olalekan and unleashed a ferocious strike from inside the area. Kuemian, made sure the home side were the victors when he tapped home Ochewechi Salefu’s cutback on 56minutes.
Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma made five changes to the side that lost to Plateau United on Wednesday. Sunday Rotimi, Ali Chiwendu, Sunday Afolabi, Gabriel Olalekan and Markson Ojobo were all given the nod to play against a Kano Pillars side who were yet to taste defeat after two match days.
Meanwhile, Kano Pillars technical adviser Ibrahim Musa made just one change to the team that defeated Nasarawa United. Manu Garba replaced Alassan Ibrahim who was not named on the bench.
Kano Pillars kept Rivers United at bay during the opening periods of the match as the home side barely threatened. Sai Masu Gida could have opened the scoring on 19 minutes, Junior Lokosa beat the Rivers United offside trap but his attempted lob was over hit as it went wide.
Rivers United then made their ascendency in the game count a minute later when Ojobo produced a pin-point cross for Bakari to volley home. It was his first goal for Rivers United following his transfer to the side in the off season transfer window.
In seeming control of the game and with his side leading, Gabriel Olalekan’s poor attempt to clear his lines provided an opportunity for the in-form Lokosa to pounce on the loose ball, the striker made sure the defender’s error was punished with a stinging shot from inside the box to score his third goal in as many matches.
With the scoreline tied at the interval, it was a reflection of a high octane manner in which the first period was played.
The visitors were made to pay for their less adventurous second half gameplan before the hour mark. Elum Sochima’s cross was missed by Kuemian’s air-shot, but Salefu kept the ball in play and cutback for the Ivorian to tap in at the second attempt.
Both teams dropped off in energy physically, but there was still time for a bit of quality. Salefu’s rasping drive from range was ripped over by David Obiazo to keep the scoreline respectable for his side as the match finished 2-1 in favour of Rivers United.
Rivers United: Rotimi, Ojobo, Ali, Afolabi, Olalekan, Austine, Aggrey (Ikeleji 90+2), Kuemian (Ohawume 76′), Sochima, Salefu, Bakari (Weli 86′).
Subs not used: Cole, Doumbia, Eneji, Israel.
Kano Pillars: Obiozo, Djondang (Ojebisi 67′), Usman, Anyanwu, Udoji, Sikiru (Ibrahim 70′), Garba, Mohammed, Nzube (Maigoro 65′), Nyima, Lokosa.
Subs not used: Danladi, Abdullahi, Madaki, Hassan