Rivers United defeated Bendel Insurance 2-1, on Friday, snapping Bendel Insurance’s 21-match unbeaten streak in the 2022/23 Nigeria Professional Football League season.
Morice Chukwu scored his fourth goal of the season in the first half of added time before substitute Joseph Onoja doubled the lead in the 90th minute before newly invited Super Eagles player Divine Nwachukwu scored a consolation for the Benin Gunners.
Coach Monday Odigie of Insurance made no changes to the squad that held Enyimba on Wednesday, while Rivers United’s gaffer Stanley Eguma introduced Lukman Adefemi for the injured Nyima Nwagua.
Bendel Insurance produced the first goal-scoring chance when goalkeeper Sochima Victor saved Nwachukwu’s shot outside the Rivers United box.
Bendel Insurance got a free-kick in the 35th minute after Ohaegbu Anthony’s challenge on Adodo Stephen was penalised for a foul by the referee. Sochima was alert to parry Nwachukwu’s effort.
However, Bendel Insurance, who had displayed more offensive zeal for most of the first half, were surprised by a United goal in the fourth minute of added-on time in the first half. Farouk Mohammed’s shot resulted in a corner kick after goalkeeper Amas Obasogie parried it. The resulting kick resulted in Morice Chukwu scoring the goal that gave Rivers United a first-half lead.
With a need to restore parity in the second half, the Benin Gunners missed an obvious chance seven minutes into the half when Zaidu Ayuba’s well-placed pass was deflected unto Sodje Stephens’ leg, and then Kazie Enyinnanya blocked the goal-bound effort.
Coach Odigie introduced Imade Osarenkhoe in the 68th minute to increase Insurance’s offensive presence, and in the 76th minute, Ismeal Sarki met Osarenkhoe’s cross, but his header hit the crossbar.
In the 90th minute, Joseph Onoja increased United’s advantage with a tap-in before Nwachukwu scored Insurance’s consolation with a close-range header from a corner kick in the fifth minute of added time.
Rivers United leapt over Enyimba to the top of the Super Six standings with eight points.
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