Niger Tornadoes were made sweat by visitors and former champions Rivers United before picking a vital and record breaking home win against the only remaining Nigeria’s continental representatives.
Hamza Abarah’s wards began the proceedings at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium Kaduna on a sound footing, as dazzling winger, Sadiq Isyaka earned a penalty for the hosts on the 7th minute when he forced a Rivers United player into commiting a foul, as he tried to manauver his way into goal. The referee spotted the incident correctly and rightly pointed to the spot, as Bashir Usman picked up the ball and smashed it beyond the reach of Akande Abiodun in goal for the visitors.
It took no time for the visitors to recover from their somewhat leggy start to the game after going behind, as they severally threatened in search of the lever, but the Tornadoes defence stood solid and firm and managed their lead into the break.
Hostilities resumed and it was Rivers United that looked more dangerous in the early part of the second half with so much energy and zeal in search of a result to complement their decent continental outing.
Half way into the second half, it became the time for Nyima Nwagua to show his attacking prowess with some decent displays, but Tornadoes Cameroonian import, Silvester Bell equalled him on all battles as the captain fired blank through out the game.
Hamza Abarah and his technical bench effected some changes, introducing Mohammed Hussain and Clinton Jephta who immediately settled into the game as the hosts seized initiatives.
Few minutes to the end of the encounter, Bashir Usman took the game on his head with some threatening moves – had a chance on 85th and 88th minute on the clock, dazzled passed his markers, but harmlessly fired the ball wide and was second time unlucky as Akande Abiodun in goal for the visitors pulled another great save to keep the scoreline. Moment after, the center referee sounded his whistle to signal the end of the game.
The win was Tornadoes first in four years against Rivers United in any competition and a first home win in three NPFL seasons for the Ikon Allah Boys.
Shortly after the encounter, the club’s Chairman Engr. Ibrahim Dada who was among spectators that witnessed the cracking encounter, delivered the sum of N500,000 support to the players as a mark of his motivation to the players.