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NPFL: Eguma remains confident in title chase

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By Tony Oji

Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma has refused to rule out the Pride of Rivers from the title race, following his side’s 1-1 draw against table-toppers Akwa United in a Match Day 33 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Orient Sports reports.

It was the Red-hot Akwa United striker Charles Atshimene, who put the visitors in front in the 53rd minute-his 12th league goal of the season.

Atshimene superbly capitalized on a defensive mix-up to drive home his message, but Bamba Bakari leveled for Eguma’s men with 3 mins left to play, as both sides settled for a share of the spoils in a very heated encounter.

Orient Sports reports that Rivers United failed to convert plethora of scoring opportunities that came their way.

Eguma who formerly coached Gabros described the result as ‘unfortunate’ as they squandered lots of chances in the game.

“It’s unfortunate,” Eguma told reporters after the match. “We prepared to win this game, but unfortunately we settled for 1-1 draw.

“I still thank God, at least, we did not lose the match, because we had to come from behind to equalise that goal. It was a difficult one.

“And I think that my players missed lots of chances, especially in the first half. We were very wasteful in front of goal.

“In the second half too, even before we scored that goal, the guy who scored the goal (Bakari) Bamba had already missed about three chances before then. So, it is very unfortunate.

“In fact, I will just say that today (Sunday) it ended that way. We accept the result in good faith, and we’ll forge ahead in the league.”

The result ensured the Port Harcourt side dropped from 3rd to 5th on the NPFL log table, five points behind leaders Akwa United.

But the long-standing tactician, who guided the club (as Dolphins) to the league title a decade ago, maintains they are still in the title race.

Asked if the draw against Kennedy Boboye’s men ended his side’s title hopes, Eguma said: “No, the league is till on. It’s not over.

“In the past, we have drawn some matches at home, we still went forward to get to the position we are today. We are still very hopeful that if we drop points at home, we can get points away from home. It’s very possible, it’s the league, as far as they keep a level playing ground for us.”

Rivers United will on Wednesday continue their fading quest for the NPFL crown with a Match Day 34 encounter against relegation-threatened Jigawa Golden Stars in Kaduna.

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