Good morning Everyone,
There wasn’t any sense putting up a post before 8:30 am this morning knowing that the second half of Rivers United vs Enyimba game would be played today.
The first half which was played yesterday saw us practically overwhelm them in the opening period and it had to be a slice of ill fortune how that we didn’t take a lead in all of the first half. Chance after chance, the finish just wasn’t there.
I’ll like to say tho, it’s heartwarming that we are able to play well, carve out chances. Putting them away is meat for another day. Perhaps we need our strikers to start training with smaller goalposts.
Anyway, back to the game. The teams couldn’t return for the second half because the rains descended, sparing Rivers United what could have been a second half bashing. The officials took a good look and postponed the game till this morning.
Same line up of course and ears probably filled with Aigbogun’s ‘here’s how to score a goal’ lecture which I heard lasted all night, Chukwude gave us the lead few minutes after the restart. Akas had a chance for a second but it narrowly went wide.
Rivers United made it couple of changes and began playing better afterwards. Guy Kuemian and Daniel Israel were brought on for Wilson Andoh and Yusuf Jayeiola and for their efforts, the Udoji led defence stood firm. At the other end, Peter Onyekachi saw his effort come off the woodwork.
As we approached the closing stages, drama broke out. Enyimba were awarded a penalty after Peter Onyekachi was denied a goalscoring effort. United protested, saying defender Ayobami Asekunuwo had been fouled in the build up to the penalty.
That’s the much we heard of the game and next the Rivers United team filed out of the pitch and the game was discontinued. Of course, at this time, we were leading 1-0.
For a side that outplayed and outfought you, and should have easily ran you over, refusing to continue the game sounds strange. Perhaps fueled by the frustration that well, this tie has been lost and the $50,000 which was to be reward for beating Enyimba had also vanished into thin air.
Pause. Let’s think. Let’s assume Sunday Rotimi who we all know is a very good goalkeeper especially with spotkicks saved that one, didn’t Rivers United think they could muster up a late rally to equalize and get the game into penalties? After all, they looked better after they conceded and you know our defensive solidity isn’t what it used to be at least since this season.Because by walking away, they had just spared Enyimba and her fans the jitters of a nervous finish while handing us a safe passage into the semis.
We can never tell or know what would have happened. But on a neutral perspective though, we all know that this is football and referee can wave away a freekick, it’s part of the game.
You also know tackles in the box may most likely not be forgiven. We saw how Enyimba lost to Heartland in Owerri following what was a challenge in the area by Udoji. Seconds later, Bassey got upended at the other penalty box and the referee didn’t even as much as balt an eyelid.