Atuloma late strike for Rivers deny MFM

Emeka Atuloma’s brilliantly-struck effort in the second half helped Rivers United to secure a point in the game against MFM in the Nigeria Professional Football League on Monday.

The midfielder fired home an unstoppable effort from outside the penalty area to peg back the hosts in an exciting contest decided at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.

MFM shot into the lead in deserved fashion in the 17th minute when sloppy play allowed midfielder, Chukwuka Onuwa ample time and space to aim a wonderful pass to Sikiru Olatunbosun. The forward did not panic as he struck low and hard past the Rivers United goalkeeper, Sunday Rotimi to the delight of the home faithful.

The goal galvanized the hosts as they surged forward with wave after wave of attacking forays in a bid to add a second before the interval.

Olatunbosun should have completed his brace on the half hour but dragged a fiercely-hit effort wide off Rotimi’s right hand post after some exemplary work by the outstanding Onuwa.

The visitors’ best chance to level matters in the first stanza was in the 27th minute when Emeka Ogbugh fired a 25-yard free kick into Orbit. Three minutes later, a gilt-edged chance fell to Obomate Frederick who struck his half volley from outside the penalty area well wide.

United continued to dictate the play and create the more dangerous situations but it was a premonition that the hosts failed to heed. Seventeen minutes from time, United levelled the scores in spectacular fashion when the overlapping Atuloma rifled home an unstoppable effort from outside the box.

It was the least the visitors deserved for a display of verve and endeavour and only a shocking display of profligacy late on ensured that the points were split at the ‘Soccer Temple’.

Coach of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma admitted that his side could have closed out the win with a little bit more cold-bloodedness displayed in the final third.

“After we equalized, we had so many chances to win the game and that is something we have to work on in our subsequent games,” Eguma said in a chat with their official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

United climbed to fourth on the NPFL standings with 27 points from 18 matches while MFM now sit in ninth place on the log with 23 points from 15 games.

Teams

MFM FC: Folarin Abayomi, Okorom Stanley, Opara Austine, Abisoye Olawale, Emiloju Julius, Ademola Adeshola, Ubakanma Peter, Onuwa Chukwuka, Olatunbosun Sikiru, Akinyemi Nojeem and Udeh Zinte.

Substitutes: Emmanuel Nasamu, Lanre Ferinyaro, Jonathan Zikiye, Balogun Muyiwa, Adebayo Waheed, Akuneto Chijioke and Ekeocha Chukwudi.

Rivers United FC: Sunday Rotimi, Samuel Ganda, Zoumana Doumbia, Emeka Atuloma, Olalekan Gabriel, Gbadebo Samson, Obomate Frederick, Emeka Ogbugh, Osita Chikere, Oche Salefu and Bamba Bakari

Substitutes: Emeka Nwabulu, Ali Chiwendu, Bello Ikeleji, Obinze Godwin, Weli Christian, Malachi Ohawume and Ovoke Bernard

Goals: Olatunbosun 17 and Atuloma 73’