Bendel Insurance inspired by Okon Iniobong suffered another heartbreak from former NPFL champions Rivers United.
FA Cup Champions Bendel Insurance suffered another heartbreak against Rivers United despite an excellent performance against the dethroned champions.
Super-sub Okon Iniobong came off the bench to score the goal of the tournament but it was not enough to save them from a 3-2 defeat in the Naija Super 8 Playoffs at the Eket Township Stadium.
The goal by Iniobong, who is from Akwa Ibom, turned out to be a consolation while a brace from Albert Korvah and Maurice Chukwu's late penalty gave United the ticket.
19:57 - 23.06.2023
Remo Stars sealed an easy passage to the next round of the Naija Super 8 with another brilliant performance, this time against neighbors Shooting Stars.
Iniobong’s Puskas-worthy goal fail to stop United
In what was a repeat of the penultimate game of the NPFL Super 6, Insurance went into the final game of the playoffs looking for revenge.
The Pride of Rivers defeated the FA Cup winners 2-1 the last time they played but it was a keenly contested battle this time between the two this time.
Despite a much-changed Insurance side, with several first team players missing including Divine Nwachukwu, Imade Osarenkhoe and their manager Monday Odigie, the Benin Arsenal were confident and fearless.
Rivers United took an early lead whe Korvah put them ahead in the 10th minute before Dede Moghara equalised for the boys in yellow from the spot just before the break.
Korvah grabbed his brace five minutes after the restart to restore Rivers’ lead which they held on to until Iniobong came off the bench to draw Bendel level again for the second time in the game with the goal of the playoffs.
In added time, with penalty shootout looming, United got a life line when the referee awarded the Pride a penalty.
09:45 - 25.06.2023
NPFL champions Enyimba International are set to return to Lagos which has become a happy title-hunting ground for them.
Chukwu stepped up to the plate to fire home, his second goal against Bendel in a matter of weeks, to give United the decisive win.
Rivers return to Lagos
With the victory, Stanley Eguma and his Pride of Rivers will return to Lagos hoping to making amends after losing the NPFL title to Enyimba in the Super 6.
United will battle seven other teams including the People’s Elephants and Remo Stars in the lucrative Super 8 slated to start Jul 7, 2023.