Enyimba midfielder Ikechukwu Ibenegbu fondly called ‘Mosquito’, has blamed the centre referee, Salihu Tatabu for their 2-1 loss to Rivers United in a Match Day 35 tie of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) decided in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
First half goals by Bernard Ovoke (4) and Abdoulaye Kanoute (29) helped the ‘Pride of Rivers’ secure all three points, with Koffi Atchou (34) scoring the lone goal for the 7-time NPFL Champions.
The defeat represents a setback for Enyimba who are chasing continental football next year while Rivers United, on the other hand, moved further clear of the relegation zone.
Asked whether he was disappointed with the outcome of the game during the post-match press conference, the former Heartland and El Kanemi Warriors star said:
“Honestly, we toiled day and night, preparations (were) very perfect to make sure that we get a good result here in Port Harcourt, unfortunately, the referee denied us just that.
“I don’t know any other thing to say than to go back and prepare very well because we have about three games to play to make sure that we finish at least second; so that we can get a continental ticket.”
Despite the defeat, Enyimba remain 4th on the NPFL log with 54 points, same as 3rd placed Akwa United who have a superior goal difference.