Sadiq Abubakar’s first goal for Enyimba was not enough to complete a comeback as the Nigerian champions settled for a draw against Rivers United at the Enyimba Stadium on Sunday.
Making a return from a lengthy layoff, Abubakar scored with his first touch to cancel Malachi Ohawume’s first half opener for Rivers United.
In an epic battle royale, a game that produced every grit and fierceness that was expected, Stanley Okorom and Farouk Mohammed made the opening attempts with free kicks that curled just off the mark.
But those positive moments for Enyimba turned around in the 33rd minute when Malachi Ohawume fed on a poor clearance to put the visitors in front.
Fatai Osho rang the changes after the restart, introducing Sadiq Abubakar, Dare Olatunji and Jean-Marie Guera; and the coach’s bold move returned immediate dividends as Abubakar pulled level with his first touch.
Building on the momentum of the leveller, Abubakar was felled as he drove through the box, but the referee did not seem the tackle on him to be illegal, while Ohawume fluffed a chance from Chigozie Ihunda’s cross at the other end.
Shadrach Oghali had his effort struck off for offside while Victor Mbaoma was denied brilliantly by Abiodun Akande as the fierceness of the fixture carried on to the last kick.
Fatai Osho’s Post Match Comment (Audio)