Rivers United beat Bayelsa United to win pre-season tournament

Rivers United beat Bayelsa United to win pre-season tournament

Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side Rivers United on Sunday beat Bayelsa United 5-4 on penalties to win the second edition of the Gov. Wike Pre-season tournament at the Sharks Football Stadium in Port Harcourt.

Goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai scored the tournament winning penalty after his opposite number Raphael John had ballooned his own effort over the bar, clinching the trophy for the hosts for the first time in the two editions that the tournament has been staged.

Striker Christian Mizo gave Bayelsa United the lead in the 53rd minute when he headed home a free kick by Oladimeji Hassan but Rivers United got a deserved equaliser eleven minutes from time through substitute Chika Godwin who finished Chigozie Ihunda’s pass with aplomb.

Both teams made stoppage time changes ahead of the impending penalty shootout with goalkeepers John and Afelokhai replacing Isiaka Ogunbiyi and Darlington Ovunda for Bayelsa and Rivers respectively.

After the first eight spot kicks were duly dispatched by players of both teams, John blazed Bayelsa’s fifth over before Afelokhai cooly converted his to hand Rivers United the title.

The former Enyimba goalkeeper was named tournament’s best goalkeeper while Bayelsa United’s Inukurogha Okardi was named the best player of the tournament. MFM’s Clement Ogwu was awarded top scorer for his three goals.

The winners Rivers United, coached by Stanley Eguma were awarded a trophy and cheque of N500,000 while beaten finalists Bayelsa United got a cheque of N300,000 for their efforts.

Sunday’s grand finale was graced by the representative of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike; Ambassador Desmond Akawor (State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party), Commissioner for Sports in the state Hon. Boma Iyaye and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Sports, Sir Honour Sirawoo among other dignitaries.

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