Rivers Utd battle Plateau United


 Football

Rivers United continue their quest for an unlikely title in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Sunday when they face Plateau United at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt.

The reverse fixture produced three goals with Plateau United prevailing 2-1 at a frenzied Rwang Pam Stadium on April 24.

It will not be a case of embarking on a vengeance mission on Sunday from the perspective of Rivers United as technical manager, Stanley Eguma is simply on the lookout for a win.

“At this stage of the season, winning is the most important thing but anyone who has been following what we do here will attest to the fact that we always want to play well too.

“I am expecting a very tough game because I am facing a team coached by a man that worked under me as assistant for many years (Zachary Baraje) so he understands my philosophy.

“However, this is not the first time such a thing will be happening in my career so I am quite optimistic we will get the win in the end,” he told Rivers United Media.

Rivers United have the best home record in the league but they face a Plateau United squad that have won two of the last three matches on their travels.

Baraje’s men stunned Abia Warriors 1-0 in Umuahia on July 3 before recording an identical victory over MFM FC in Agege on July 31.
Plateau United is the form side in the league as they have won four games on the spin and can still finish in the continental positions if they continue to rack up positive results.

The last time Plateau United failed to win a game was over a month ago when they suffered a slim 0-1 loss to Lobi Stars at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi (July 17).

It is a fearsome run of results posted by Baraje’s men and Rivers United will be well-advised not to handle the opposition with kids’ gloves.

In Danladi Isah, Plateau United have one of the most physically imposing goal keepers in the land while personnel like Kelechi John, Daniel Itodo, Junior Salomon, Lazarus Fan and Joshua Obaje provide a rock-solid spine.

The golden boy of Plateau United however is Benjamin Turba who regularly punishes opposition defences when left with as much as an inch of space.

Baraje however claims that Eguma is blessed with better individual talent at his disposal.

“Eguma has got better players than me but I will be relying on the work I have done with my players as far as fitness and tactics are concerned.

“I know him (Eguma) very well but I don’t think that is going to act as an advantage for either of us on Sunday.

“I must commend Eguma for the wonderful work he has done with this team because Rivers United is a very good team.

“The coach has really dedicated his time to make this team quite strong,” Baraje said.

There are no injury worries for Eguma and Rivers United with a decision still to be made over who starts in goal for the ‘Pride of Rivers’ on Sunday.

Sunday Rotimi and Abiodun Akande have both played twice each in United’s last four matches and Eguma has opted to wait until the last minute to decide who starts against Plateau United on Sunday.

Striker, Chinonso Okonkwo will however start the game against Plateau United and he expects a stern test from the Jos-based side but predicts a win.

“The fans should expect a win from us and I am sure we will win,” he said.

It promises to be an intriguing contest as both sides with lofty ambitions go for broke.

Rivers United is currently in third place on the NPFL standings with 50points from 31 matches while Plateau United occupy 11th place on the log with 45 points from 31 matches.
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