By James Agberebi:
MFM FC missed the chance to close the gap on leaders Plateau United to just two points following their 1-0 defeat to 10-man Rivers United in a rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 28 game at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
The only goal of the game was scored by Christian Weli in the 30th minute.
Despite the defeat, MFM are still second in the league table on 46 points, five points adrift of Plateau United.
For Rivers United, who recently crashed out in round 16 group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup, the win moves them from 18th to 14th on 36 points on the log.
Rivers United had the chance to take the lead in the fifth minute but Bernard Ovoke’s penalty was saved by Folarin Abayomi.
In the 16th minute, Guy Keumian went close for Rivers United only to see his cheeky attempt go just over the bar.
MFM almost took a surprise lead on 21 minutes but top scorer Stephen Odey who was unmarked inside the box could not beat Rivers United keeper Femi Thomas with a header.
Rivers United eventually broke the deadlock in the 30th minute through Weli who finished off from close range from an assist by Lukman Mohammed.
In the second minute of the second half, MFM’s Adekunle Adegboyega tried a shot from outside the box but his effort hit the side net.
Three minutes later, Odey struck a well taken free-kick but his goal-bound effort was blocked by Rivers United’s defenders.
Rivers United responded to MFM’s early onslaught and almost doubled their lead in the 52nd minute Ovoke could not score with a glancing header.
MFM continued to create chances and were almost rewarded in the 66th minute but Sikiru Olatunbosun’s shot went just over the bar.
Weli almost doubled Rivers’ lead in the 72nd minute but badly miscued his shot from the edge of MFM’s box.
In the 87th minute, Rivers United were reduced to 10 men as defender Gabriel Olalekan was shown a second yellow card.
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