By Joshua Tekidek
A spirited performance from hosts, Wikki Tourist earned them their first win of the season and condemned leaders Rivers United to their first defeat.
In a match played at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, Wikki Tourist won by a lone goal; a thirtieth minute free kick from Chinedu Udeagba.
Wikki made two changes from their last squad, Nazifi Yahaya and Salish Adamu replacing Abiodun Thompson and Madu Arinze.
For Rivers United, Fabien Nworie, Bamba Bakary, Cletus Emotan and Aguda Godwin made the start from the last game.
The first half was keenly contested with mostly half chances created.
The visitors had the first chance in the 7th minute when well placed Chika Godwin headed over a cross from Onoja Joseph.
Goalkeeper Nwabali was lucky not to have conceded an easy goal after he spilled over Cletus Emotan effort, he however quickly recovered before the ball could cross the line.
Wikki took over from there and their pressure yielded them three quick corners which nothing came out from. Rivers United however got the first clear chance after a sweet attacking football ended with Aguda Godwin’s shot slicing the post.
At the half hour mark, a foul on Promise Damala resulted in a free kick which Chinedu Udeagba hit over the wall to go straight into the net.
The Bauchi Elephants should have doubled their lead four minutes later but Akande Abiodun made a flying save to deny Idris Guda Mohammed.
Coach Stanley Eguma came to the second half with an all attack minded and for a couple of times they were almost punished from counter attack by the opponents.
The gaffer made two changes at the hour mark, bringing in Fortune Omoniwari and Esor Nelson for Godwin and Onoja.
However the duo of Omoniwari and Stephen were denied supply by the alert Wikki back of Peter Ambrose and Salish Adamu.
The closeth Rivers United came to scoring at this half was in the 77th minutes when Esor Nelson advanced from deep but shot over the bar.
Wikki were then dealt a big blow when Nasir Jibrin who had earlier come in for Promise Damala picked up a knock, and was replaced by Sale Ibrahim.
‘We are looking for points more than goals. It is not about scoring 3 or 4, the most important thing is points, I am happy with the performance of the boys’
Though he blamed fatigue for his wards’ performance, Stanley Eguma said he will work hard to get better result next time.
‘It is football, we have lost today, we will work hard to get better result next time’
Wikki will next travel to Akwa United while Rivers will be at home against Heartland.
Wikki: Stanley Nwabali, Andrew Abalogu, Modu Arinze, Mohammed Idris Guda, Mayaki Ismail, Ambrose Peter, Salisu Adamu, Chinedu Udeagba, Promise Damala(Nasiru Jibrin 73′)(Sale Ibrahim 87′), Mathew Emmanuel(Jimmy Ambrose 73′), Nazifi Yahaya.
Subs not used: Ibrahim Pius, Julius Emilogu, Mansoor Aliyu, Abiodun Thompson.
Rivers United: Akande Abiodun, Fabian Nworie(Looknan Binuyo 84′), Austine Festus, Chigozie Ihunda, Bamba Bakary, Kunle Odunlamu, Onoja Joseph(Esor Nelson 60′), Cletus Emotan(Destiny Ashadi 84′), Aguda Godwin(Isaq Kayode 67′), Goper Stephen, China Godwin(Fortune Omoniwari 60′).
Subs not used: Darlington Ovunda, Solomon Ogberahwe, Temple Emekayi, Isreal Emmanuel.