Stanley Eguma has told his Rivers United players to not get carried away by their “sweet victory” over Enugu Rangers at the weekend but to focus instead on generating momentum from the win as they chase a first Nigeria Professional Football League title since 2011.
Ex-Rangers man Godwin Aguda returned to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium to haunt his former side as his eighth-minute goal ensured Rivers United completed the double over the Flying Antelopes and delivered a statement of their title intentions on matchday 21.
Eguma’s side had also inflicted a similar scoreline when both sides met on matchday one in Port Harcourt last December.
The win – a third on the bounce for Rivers United – kept them within two points of leaders Akwa United after 21 games in fourth place and puts them firmly in the title mix.
Speaking to the club’s media channel after the game, Eguma said the early goal settled his players and ensured they could stick to their game-plan to hit Rangers on the counter as the home side chased an equaliser.
A statement victory at a bonafide title challenger like seven-time champions Rangers will always be cause for celebration but Eguma while praising his players for sticking to the script and ensuring they kept their third shutout in as many games, said any such celebrations would be premature with the league “still wide open” and the title race far from run.
“Well, it was a good game. My players played to instructions and according to our plans before coming to Enugu,” the long-serving gaffer said. “We knew that it was going to be a very difficult game, because Rangers are equally a very strong side, contesting for the title, so, we had to put our tactics together and then, made sure that we maintained it till the end.
“We got an early goal in the game and we tried to keep the goal and also go for more goals, but we couldn’t get it. Rangers tried to attack from different angles, but we contained them and also tried to hit them on the counter. I think it worked out and we were able to get the victory.
“It’s a very sweet victory and we hope that we take it from here; the league is still wide open. It is not yet time for us to start celebrating. We have to go back to the drawing board and work harder for subsequent games.”
Rivers United who have 38 points from 21 games are next in action against Abia Warriors at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on matchday 22.