Abia Warriors 0-0 Rivers United: Reigining champions fails to close gap with a goalless draw in Umuahia

Rivers United could not breakdown a stubborn Abia Warriors at the Umuahia Township Stadium in a rescheduled matchday 9 Nigeria Premier Football League clash on Saturday evening but the point they gained keeps them on the shoulder of group B leaders Lobi Stars.

Mohammad Shiraz had a chance in the 17th minute of the game but saw his goal bound effort blocked.

Aside from that Rivers United enjoyed measured control throughout yet never truly dominated. They pressed the host and created chances to win the game – Albert Korvah’s near-post flick and two drives from Bolaji Sakin and Gibson Mark Theo – but could not convert.

Abia Warriors will argue their resilience at the end was worth a point; Rivers United will have goalkeeper Darlingtin Ovunda to thank for the point gained as he capped his Man of the match performance with a penalty save in the 67 minute.

Rivers United are in second place four points off top spot with a game in hand. They remain in the thick of the super six playoff race.


Coach Stanley Eguma made six changes from the side that beat DC Motema Pembe 1-0 in CAF TotalEnergies Confederation’s Cup group B tie in Luanda Angola on Sunday.

Darlingtin Ovunda started in goal. Azeez Godswill and Anthony Chinedu replaced Kazie Enyinnaya and Denis Ndasi in defense. Farouk Mohammad and Chiamaka got the nod ahead of Morice Chukwu and Ukeme Williams in Midfield while Lukman Adefemi and Mohammad Shiraz replaced Nyima Nwagua and Paul Acquah in attack.


Both teams started the game on a fast note and could have led within the opening five minutes of the game.

Joseph Onoja saw his effort go off target while Darlingtin Ovunda was called into action making two timely saves.

Rivers United’s response was swift. Lukman Adefemi sent Mohammad Shiraz through and the move resulted in a corner.

From the corner an unmarked Mohammad Shiraz’s shot on target was blocked.

After 22 minutes, Warrior’s forward Bello’s deflected shot caused Darlingtin Ovunda into a rapid readjustment before saving low to his left.

It seemed that the host had settled into the game and they began to exert their superiority. However it did not produce a clear effort

Abia Warriors continued to have a persistence about them but it was Darlingtin Ovunda who caught the eye with a superb save just before the whistle.


Rivers United came out with renewed energy with the introduction of Bolaji Sakin after the restart. It evened up the game.

But chances were minimal until 5 minutes after the hour-mark when a penalty was awarded to the host after Lawrence Edward was adjudged to have tackled Lukman Bello.

It was so the nearly the breakthrough the home side desired but Darlingtin Ovunda guessed right to save Lukman Bello’s spot kick.

As we entered the latter stages, this was a game on a knife-edge. Rivers United had enjoyed a measure of control and had a penalty call not awarded but Abia Warriors also looked capable of breaking through.

In injury time, Darlingtin Ovunda again was forced into action.

But it ended goalless.

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