Reigning Champions, Rivers Angels have reclaimed top spot in Group A of the 2016/2017 Nigerian Women Premier League (NWPL) season after beating Sunshine Queens 2-0 at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on Wednesday 26th April, 2017.
An own goal from Sunshine Queens’ Akudo Ogbonna in the 26th minute and a close range shot from Rivers Angels’ Amarachi Ojinma in the 60th minute separated these two heavyweights in the epic encounter.
Former players of Rivers Angels; Winifred Eyebhoria, Shola Oyewusi and Ijeoma Obi featured for the Coach Wemimo led Sunshine Queens while Rivers Angels coach Edwin Okon gave a starting berth to new signings, Patience Kalu and Ulunma Jerome who both had impressive performances.
The ‘Jewels of Rivers’ were dominant over their visitors, the ‘Owena Mermaids’ throughout the first half with non-stop offensive plays. In the 7th minute, Rivers Angels pacy winger, Mercy Amanze had her left footed shot from the right wing punched away by Sunshine Queens goalie, Elizabeth Johnson.
Seven minutes later, Rivers Angels midfield maestro, Glory Iroka beat off Sunshine Queens defender, Ogunriola Funsho but her resulting low right footed shot was saved by the resilient Johnson in goal for Sunshine Queens.
The opening goal of the evening was scored in the 26th minute when a cross from a Rivers Angels player was headed backwards by Sunshine Queens defender, Akudo Ogbonna into her own net while goalkeeper, Elizabeth Johnson stood ball watching.
The backline of Sunshine Queens featuring, Ogunrinola Funsho, Aminu Adeola, Elizabeth Zirike and Akudo Ogbonna were struggling to contain the dribbles of Rivers Angels trio of Rafiat Sule, Mercy Amanze and Amarachi Ojinma.
The second half maintained its momentum but this time the ‘Owena Mermaids’ were better on the ball compared to the first 45 minutes. Rivers Angels still had their footing on the front pedal with lots of offensive play but Sunshine Queens goalie, Elizabeth Johnson kept the visitors afloat with superb saves.
In the 61st minute, Rivers Angels attacker, Amarachi Ojinma pounced on a loose ball within the 18-yard box of Sunshine Queens when there was a scrambling of the ball and shot it into the back of the net for her first goal of the season and Angel’s second in the match.
Sunshine goalkeeper, Elizabeth Johnson was the busier of the two goalies. In the 74th minute she kept the ball away when Rivers Angels substitute, Alice Ogebe’s low shot was goal bound. Four minutes later, Sunshine Queens, Patricia Agbokedi missed a sitter as she ballooned wide against an empty net. Rivers Angels kept pressing offensively but Sunshine Queens were rock solid with Akudo Ogbonna marshalling proceedings and urging her team mates to hold their ground till the end of the game.
POST MATCH REACTIONS
EDWIN OKON (Rivers Angels coach): I have to thank the players for making it two goals today. One in the first half and the other in the second half despite missing lots of chances. Generally we have the three points at stake and am happy.
WEMIMO MATTHEW (Sunshine Queens coach): The game wasn’t too bad as my girls did their best. But when you talk about officiating, it wasn’t fair. From what I saw this evening, I don’t think it’s a free and fair officiating.
RIVERS ANGELS XI: Tochukwu Oluehi, Ugo Njoku, Mabel Effiom, Onyinyechi Ohadugha, Ulunma Jerome, Ulu Joseph, Mercy Amanze (Alice Ogebe 65’), Rafiat Sule (Cynthia Aku 66’), Amarachi Ojinma (Chinaza Uchendu 88’), Iroka Glory and Kalu Patience.
Substitutes not used: Charity John, Catherine Kenneth, Cecelia Nku and Ibinabo Georgewill.
Manager: Edwin Okon
SUNSHINE QUEENS XI: Elizabeth Johnson, Aminu Adeola, Elizabeth Zirike, Ogunrinola Funsho, Akudo Ogbonna, Ijeoma Obi, Patricia Innocent, Agbokadi Patience (Adenike Adekunle 85’), Godwin Jane, Eyebhoria Winifred (Opeyemi Sunday 67’) and Iyoma Goodness.
Substitutes not used: Obot Monica, Oyewusi Shola, Aderemi Mary, Akpata Ekaette and Eke Nnenna
Manager: Wemimo Matthew
Rivers Angels: Nil
Sunshine Queens: Godwin Jane (58’).
Rivers Angels Nil
Sunshine Queens: Nil
Rivers Angels: Akudo Ogbonna (Own goal, 26’) and Amarachi Ojinma (61’)
Sunshine Queens: Nil