Rivers United failed to take a chance to return to the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League table after losing 2-1 to Katsina United at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium on matchday 8.
The Pride of Rivers, looking for their second away of the season, travelled to Katsina with high hopes of consolidating on their last league win over Adamawa United in Port Harcourt and get a result that will restore their lead in the league.
Katsina United had a difficult time in Aba on matchday 7, losing 1-0 to Enyimba and didn’t want back-to-back defeats in the league and that made the encounter with Rivers United a feisty one.
The Changi Boys took control from the start of the game and as early as the fifth minute, they opened scoring through Faisal Sani who gave the home team the lead from a direct free kick.
After the goal, Katsina United did not stop attacking. Immediately play resumed, they would have doubled their lead when Joseph Atule dribbled his way into the Rivers United defence, he sent a pass to Rasheed Ahmed who hit the ball wide.
Five minutes later, Rivers United had a chance to level up. Ishaq Rafiu sent in a cross, Sissoko Souleymane connected with a head but goalkeeper Yusfuf Muhammad punched it to safety.
The pride of Rivers launched another attack. Again, Ishaq Rafiu is the provider. This time, he located Desmond Agbekpormu who sent in a shot for goalkeeper Yusuf to produce another save.
Moments later, it was the turn of Katsina United to attack and it was fruitful. Boubacar Massaly went on a solo mission from the halfway line and fired low into the net.
Score stayed 2-0 till half-time.
In the second half, both teams created chances, but the goal won’t come until the dying minutes of the encounter. There was some sort of confusion in Katsina United’s defence, Malachy Ohawume capitalised on it to score a consolatory goal for the visitors.
Defeat for Rivers United means Enyimba will sit comfortably at the top of the league table with 18 points from 8 matches, Rivers United is second with 15 points, same points with Kwara United occupying the third position.
At the Dan Anyiam Stadium Owerri, the oriental derby between Heartland FC and FC Ifeanyi Ubah failed to produce a winner.
Heartland took the lead through a penalty converted by Emmanuel Adachi in the 31st minute. Centre referee pointed to the spot when Evans Obonda handled the ball in the box.
Four minutes to the end of regulation time, a goalkeeping error by Ikechukwu Ezenwa gifted the visitors a goal. The Super Eagles goalkeeper, failed to deal with a ball he came out to get, leaving Chinemerem Igboeli to tap into an empty net.
The shared points leave both sides with two wins in 8 games with FC Ifeanyi gathering just 8 points, a point ahead of the Naze Millionaires who have suffered five loses this season.
NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Matchday 8 Results
Katsina United 2 Rivers United 1
Heartland FC 1 FC Ifeanyi Ubah 1
Abia Warriors 4 Sunshine Stars 1
Nasarawa United 1 Enyimba 2
Adamawa United 0 Akwa United 1
Rangers Int’l FC 3 Dakkada FC 0
Wikki Tourists 2 MFM FC 0
Kwara United 2 Lobi Stars 1
Warri Wolves 1 Plateau United 0
Kano Pillars 2 Jigawa Golden Stars 0