Rivers United Pip Nasarawa United
Elum Sochima scored the fastest goal of the this season’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Sunday as Rivers United overpowered Nasarawa United 1-0 in Port Harcourt.
The forward struck home a fearsome shot that flew in off the crossbar on 57 seconds to hand maximum points to the Pride of Rivers in a tightly-fought contest decided at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.
Rivers United’s technical manager, Stanley Eguma stuck to the same side that defeated Akwa United 1-0 on Thursday and his charges did not disappoint, delivering a win that lifted the Port Harcourt side up to second place on the log.
Big striker, Osita Chikere should have doubled his side’s lead in the 12th minute headed inches wide after he was set up on a plate by Emeka Ogbugh.
Suleiman Mohammed was Nasarawa United’s best player in the first half and he came close to scoring in the 25th minute but the Rivers United goalkeeper, Sunday Rotimi read the danger and snuffed out the danger impressively.
The best chance of the half fell to the visitors in the 34th minute when Abdulahhi Abubakar found himself in acres of space in the hosts’ penalty area.
He however panicked and struck his effort over the bar.
Suleiman came close again five minutes later and this time, he got his attempt on target but the feeble nature of his header meant Rotimi collected with minimal fuss.
Rivers United carved out the first real opening after the restart but Osita saw his header fly marginally wide off Suraj Ayelesoh’s right hand post in the 52nd minute.
The hosts continued to probe for the second goal and almost got in on the hour through an unconventional source.
Right back, Markson Ojobo embarked on a lung-bursting overlap before seeing a low drive fizz just wide after he was denied impressively by Ayeleso moments earlier.
Second half substitute Ochowechi Salefu should have scored the hosts’ second in the 74th minute but chose to round the Ayeleso rather than strike for goal when he came face to face with the Nasarawa United goalkeeper.
Ogbugh though he had scored his fourth goal in as many matches when his fierce drive completely beat Ayeleso but cannoned off the post.
Nasarawa United produced several late bursts to claim a share of the spoils but the hosts held out for a richly-deserved win.