Port Harcourt - Rivers United came from a goal down to beat
Abuja based side, City Strikers FC 4-1 in a wonderfully-open and entertaining
pre-season friendly match played at the Goal Project, Abuja on Thursday.
United were stunned when the unheralded Abuja side took the
lead inside the opening five minutes following a breath taking counter attack.
That was as good as it would get for the Abuja club as
United’s superiority and class shone through in the end.
Stung into action, last season’s Nigeria Professional
Football League (NPFL) runners up responded, with a deadly dose of attacking
football that left their opponents spell-bound.
New boy, Daouda Ouattara was the stand out performer as his
excellently-taken brace in the 10th and 36th minutes capped a debut to
His first was a fearsome volley, smashed into the top corner
from the edge of the box while his second was a work of art; poetry in motion.
Best ‘Messi’ Deemua created space on the left after some
nifty footwork that left his marker for dead as he honed in on goal.
The pint-sized midfielder then crossed delightfully for the
onrushing Ouattara to produce an intelligently-weighted looping header that
left the City Strikers goal keeper shame faced.
The stunning nature of the goal had even some City strikers’
fans applauding as United went into the break 3-1 up following an
expertly-taken penalty converted by Chiwendu Ali midway into the first stanza.
The United technical manager, Stanley Eguma rang the changes
at the interval, introducing more familiar faces like Sunday Rotimi, Festus
Austine, Gabriel Olalekan, Christian Weli, Godwin Obinze, Godbless Asamoah and
Also read: Rivers United line up tune up matches
Ovoke quickly imposed himself on the game, dictating the
play and carving goal scoring opportunities at will.
He came close to adding a goal scoring contribution in the
52nd minute but watched as his dangerous free kick sailed agonizingly wide.
Shortly before the end, Asamoah provided the coup de grace
with a simply audacious finish; chipping the goalkeeper from 35 yards to draw
appreciative noises from a healthy crowd.
Speaking after the game, Eguma explained the rationale
behind the test game and what he had been able to achieve so far with the
‘Pride of Rivers’ in pre-season.
“Most of the individuals who played today were doing so with
the team for the very first time.
“We are trying to ascertain their levels of fitness and see
how they (embrace our philosophy).
“That was why we had mostly new players in the first half
and the (retained players from last season) play in the second half.
“The integration of the old and new players is extremely
important for us,” he said.
Rivers United will represent Nigeria in the 2017 Caf
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