10-man Rivers United climbed out of the relegation zone in the Nigeria Professional Football League courtesy of Christian Weli’s solitary first-half goal.
Christian Weli put the hosts in front on the half-hour mark when he converted from Doumbia’s throw in.
The match was a rescheduled NPFL matchday 28 fixture which was played at the Yakubu Gowon stadium in Port Harcourt
Rivers United started the first-half the brightest of the two sides and soon won a penalty in the fifth minute. Bernard Ovoke was brought down inside the box. The fleet-footed winger picked himself up but saw his spot kick saved by Folarin Abayomi.
Ovoke enjoying one of his best performances of the season called Abayomi into action again in the 29th minute. His overhead kick was brilliantly tipped over for a corner-kick.
Rivers United soon took the lead a minute later through Weli. The midfielder held off his marker before firing a right footed shot past Abayomi.
NPFL top scorer Stephen Odey almost equalized just before half-time but his toe-poked effort was saved by Femi Thomas.
In need of more goals, Rivers United’s Technical Manager Stanley Eguma threw on Emeka Ogbugh for Ifeanyi Nweke. The substitution meant defensive midfielder Markson Ojobo dropped into right back. The tactical change almost paid off when Ojobo’s well weighted cross from the right met the head of Lukman Mohammed who couldn’t keep his header down.
The hosts were then reduced to 10-men late on when Gabriel Olalekan received a second yellow card. MFM pressed on for a goal but failed to seize the initiative with Rivers United holding out for the three points.
Victory sees Rivers United climb to 14th position with 36 points while MFM FC remain in 2nd position.
The Pride of Rivers still have two more outstanding games and will play ABS FC in Ilorin on Saturday. MFM will also be in action on the same day. The Yahweh Boys will be at home to Wikki Tourists in a matchday 29 fixture.
Rivers United: 1. Femi Thomas; 2. Ifeanyi Nweke (Ogbugh 57′), 14. Doumbia Zoumana, 30. Ojobo Markson, 19. Festus Austine, 12. Olalekan Gabriel, 27. Christian Weli, 13. Emeka Atuloma, 7. Ovoke Bernard (Sakin 67′), 15. Lukman Mohammed, 9. Guy Keumian (Eguakun 83′).
Subs: 23. Akande Abiodun, 3. Ali Chiwendu, 16. Daniel Israel, 21. Yusuf Jaiyeola.
MFM FC: 1. Folarin Abayomi; 3. Uwaga Chuka, 28. Okorom Stanley, 34. Zikiye Jonathan, 18. Bashiru Monsuru, 30. Opara Austine, 6. Tchato Gischard, 10. Onuwa Chukwuka (Chijioke 73′), 22. Adegboyega Adekunle (Oluwafemi 81′), 2. Olatunbosun Sikiru (Candy 79′), 31. Odey Stephen.
Subs: 32. Nasamu Emmanuel, 27. Elom Kenneth, 24. Alashe Ajibola, 15. Atu Irumekhai Paul.