Rivers United manager, Stanley Eguma has blamed fatigue and the early goals his players conceded for their surprise home loss to Wikki Tourists in a top-flight tie played last weekend in Port Harcourt.
Saidu Abdullahi and Hassan Musa put the Giant Elephants in the driver’s seat in the 17th and 23rd minutes but the Port Harcourt side threatened a comeback through Ossy Martins who reduced the goals arrears in the 37th minute but the fantastic saves of Wikki goalkeeper, Chinedu Udeh denied them from getting a share of the spoils.
But Eguma in his post-match press conference stressed that Wikki Tourists won’t have had their way had his players not concede those goals almost in quick succession in the first half and that by the time they knew what hit them it was impossible to stage a comeback even when they reduced the goals arrears in the first half through Martins.
“The early goals scored by Wikki totally changed our game plan and made us be at the receiving end with so much pressure to deal with in the first 45 minutes of the game,” Eguma told the media.
“Besides, I also noticed that most of my players were tired and unable to keep up with the pace the visitors were exhibiting. It was a game we didn’t start well and we must go back and re-assess what we did wrong so that it won’t recur again in the subsequent games. We can’t continue to play so poorly and expect a good result.”
He, however, disagreed with the referee’s decision to disallow a goal scored by a substitute, Bright Onyedikachi stating that the strike should have counted because he believed the ball crossed the line before the assistant referee raised his flag for an offside offence.
He commended and congratulated the visitors on their away feat and pointed out that Rivers United will bounce back in their next game with Remo Stars in Sagamu this weekend.
“it was a painful loss because we had thought that we would come back home and have revenge for our away defeat to them but it was not to be,” he continued.
“But I will like to fault the decision of the assistant referee that cancelled what I thought was a good goal. The goal would have evened the scores but Bright (Onyedikachi) was said to be in an offside position. I will still do a review of it but from my angle at this point, I will call it a goal.
“I must commend Wikki Tourists for giving us a good fight and I must also charge my players that we must go to Sagamu and recoup these lost points this weekend. It is just normal that we do not allow anything to dampen our morale before the weekend clash.”
Rivers United slumped to the ninth spot in the NPFL Group A table with 13 points from 11 games as a result of the shock home loss.