Rivers United recorded their most emphatic victory of the season yesterday when they hammered reigning Cup champions Rangers International 3-0 in a rescheduled NPFL Match Day 9 encounter decided at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt.
Goals by Malachi Ohawume 36′, Wasiu Jimoh 59′ and Nelson Esor 76′ inflicted back-to-back defeats on Gbenga Ogunbote’s men for the first time this season and lifted Stanley Eguma’s side out of the relegation zone into a lofty 4th.
While the scoreline suggests a comprehensive rout, it indeed was more of an efficient display by the hosts who until Thursday had failed to score more than one goal in a league match this term. Their visitors however bore the brunt of a fairly depleted side through injuries after a hectic run of schedule.
Scorer of United’s first goal; Ohawume was rewarded with a fantastic State FA Cup form as he was handed a rare start in the league while defender Kunle Odunlami was deployed as a holding midfielder for the Pride of Rivers.
For Rangers, they were without their first choice right back Tope Olusesi, first and second choice left backs Isaac Loute and Ugwu Uwadiegwu; central defenders Isiaka Oladuntoye, Akpos Adubi as well as attackers Ifeanyi George and Pascal Seka all through injury bar the latter who just had his red card rescinded late on Wednesday night.
From the relegation zone which they were before Thursday’s game, Rivers United climbed to joint fourth on the league table with 23 points and just one point behind third place MFM FC who they will face on Match Day 17 in Lagos on Sunday.
Rangers meanwhile still sit pretty top of the Group A table with 31 points, six points clear of second placed Enyimba who will be their hosts on Sunday in Aba.