Gambo Mohammed’s close range finish was all Kano Pillars required to defeat Rivers United 1-0 in a match day 32 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game decided on Sunday in Kano.
The veteran attacker swept home Adamu Mohammed’s low cross from the right in the 23rd minute after Rabiu Ali initiated the attacking move with an incisive pass.
The big news before kickoff was the decision of the Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma to drop Sunday Rotimi, Bernard Ovoke and Guy Kuemian from the starting line-up.
Gambo had come close to scoring moments earlier when he swivelled in the box only to watch in frustration as his deflected strike off Markson Ojobo’s outstretched leg clattered against the cross bar.
Rivers United had their moments in the first half too, most notably in the 43rd minute when Idris Aloma’s well-struck volley flew narrowly wide with the Kano Pillars goal keeper, David Obiozor beaten.
Frederick Obomate’s smartly-taken volley earlier in the half threatened to see the visitors make their mark in hot and humid conditions at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Gambo had another opportunity to add to the scoring late in the half with Prince Aggrey also threatening for the home side.
United started on the front foot after the break with the introduction of the club’s topscorer, Ovoke for the tiring Felix Benjamin in the 52nd minute acting as the catalyst for wave after wave of attacking incursions.
Two minutes before Ovoke’s introduction, United had an opening via the right hand channel but Ojobo Markson opted to shoot rather than cross into the penalty area and skied his effort into the stands.
The visitors continued to boss possession and create the better goal scoring opportunities in the opening moments of the second half.
Christian Weli narrowly headed over from close range in the 56th minute and a minute late, the same player fired wide after he was played in by Obomate Frederick.
United continued to dominate with Weli heading Ojobo’s cross from the right just wide in the 68th minute.
Rivers United’s Godwin Obinze received a Red card second Yellow bookable offence and the hosts exploited their numerical advantage to close out the win.