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Naija Super 8 Zonal Playoffs: Rivers United edge Insurance in thriller as Katsina Utd oust Kano Pillars

Rivers United secured their place in the Naija Super 8 tournament following a hard-fought 3-2 win over Federation Cup champions Bendel Insurance in their South-South Zonal Playoff.

Both sides will represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup next season and they served up a cracking encounter in Eket.

Rivers United went ahead after only ten minutes when Liberian winger Albert Korvah volleyed home a pass from Temple Emekayi. On the stroke of half-time, Bendel Insurance levelled from the penalty spot through Dede Muoghara.

The Pride of Rivers restored their advantage in the 50th minute when Korvah scored his second of the match from close range. Rivers United threatened their opponents but were unable to kill off the tie before the Benin Arsenal responded in outrageous fashion in the 70th minute.

Arriving onto a blocked cross 20 yards from goal, midfielder Ini-Obong Okon took the ball on his chest before flicking it over the defender who tried to close him down. He watched the ball as it slowly descended before putting his laces through it on the volley, sending it dipping viciously over the head of stranded Rivers United goalkeeper Victor Sochima, who was reduced to a mere spectator as the effort hit the back of the net, sending the crowd into raptures.

The drama in the match was not over as Rivers United were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute and influential midfielder Morice Chukwu stepped up to score from the spot and send his side into the Naija Super 8 tournament.

In the day’s other match, Katsina United sealed their place in the Naija Super 8 tournament after edging Kano Pillars 1-0 in a keenly-contested encounter.

The match was decided by an 84th-minute strike from Samson Olasofo for the Changi Boys, putting Kano Pillars to the sword and booking their ticket to Lagos.

Katsina United and Rivers United have now joined Lobi Stars, Remo Stars, Enyimba and Yobe Desert Stars in the Naija Super 8 tournament in Lagos, where they will be joined by two wildcard teams.

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