“We planned to get an early goal but when it did not come, we remained patient knowing we could score at any time,” said Maikaba.
“I commend my players for the win and now we must focus on winning our remaining two games.”
Wikki started the stronger of the two sides and created the more clear-cut opportunities.
The league’s top scorer Godwin Obaje whose nonchalant chip totally hoodwinked Sunday Rotimi in the United goal, but missed the target by whiskers in the fourth minute.
The lively Umanah also came close to opening the scoring early in the first half but saw an unconventional Rotimi prevent his fierce drive from hitting the back of the net.
Rivers United coach Eguma shocked many as he opted to drop the club’s two most potent attacking weapons, Bernard Ovoke and Chinonso Okonkwo to the bench.
In the absence of the suspended Ivorian marksman, Guy Kuemian, Eguma choose to hand Daniel Israel his first start of the season, while Babtunde Bright was given the nod to play as support striker.
It proved an inspired move as the caused all sorts of problems for the hosts with the former unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when he was seemingly tripped by a Wikki’s Hassan Hussein in the 25th minute.
Babatunde, whose upper body strength was used to full effect in holding up the ball and setting up teammates, almost scored a spectacular 50-yard effort, but watched in despair as his dipping, swerving drive flew just inches wide after the Wikki goal keeper, Emeka Nwabulu strayed off his line.
Real chances were few and far between in a first half that saw both sides cancel each other out.
Two minutes before the break, Obaje crept to the far side to meet an Umanah cross with an intelligent header, but Rotimi stood firm to save well at his near post.
Rotimi and Obaje continued their individual duel in the second half with the United man coming up trumps to deny the Wikki poacher yet again in the 51st minute.
The hosts continued to step on the accelerator with the realization that failure to amass maximum points would put paid to their ambitions of a late title push.
Obaje was taking matters into his own hands and on 55 minutes, he produced an outrageous back heeled effort which was on target, but did not have the pace and power to go past the outstanding Rotimi.
Wikki continued to throw the kitchen sink at and on 72 minutes, Mubarak Umar unleashed a spectacular effort at the United goal but Rotimi made the save look easy.
While the hosts pouring forward in numbers, there was always the chance of the visitors nicking a goal on the break and so it almost proved in the 77th minute.
Ofem Inah and Chinonso Okonkwo combined well in the Wikki half with the latter curling a tame effort which Nwabulu barely broke any sweat to save.
That miss by Okonkwo proved decisive as the hosts finally struck the underbelly of the visitors two minutes later through Waziri to set off furious celebrations among the home faithful.


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