Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma has expressed disappointment and shock over a first-half penalty awarded to Katsina United as the Pride of Rivers lost 2-1 to their hosts on Sunday in a Match Day 15 NPFL tie at the Mohammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina.
Tasiu Lawal converted the controversial penalty to put the hosts in front on 20 minutes before Usman Barau doubled the lead six minutes after the break, with Cletus Emotan grabbing a consolation for Eguma’s men in the 68thminute.
“We came into the game with a very good ball possession trying to sag on the opponents but unfortunately, that penalty that came early destabilized the team,” Eguma lamented.
“I cannot even understand the reason why the referee (Chibuzor Udeh) awarded such a penalty. A penalty that was surprisingly seen, no Katsina (United) player protested or clamoured for it. It was to the dismay of everyone in the stadium. I cannot explain why the referee awarded a penalty in such a high-level game at that particular point in time where there was no contact.
The controversial penalty decision notwithstanding, Eguma is hopeful that his boys will bounce back in subsequent matches in the league. He said: “But all the same, I just believe that we will get out of it.
“This match is gone; we’ll keep it behind and look forward. I think the players are still in high spirit. So, we will look forward to forthcoming games.”
After Sunday’s defeat to Katsina United, Rivers United dropped to 7th spot on the Group A standings of the NPFL with 19 points from 14 matches (with a game in hand), while the Changi Boys moved up to 5th on the log with 21 points from 15 games.