Rivers United paraded several new signings to win big in a pre-season friendly against City Strikers and are now scheduled to take on Abuja Football College today.
“Most of the individuals who played today were doing so with the team for the very first time,” said coach Stanley Eguma.
“We are trying to ascertain their levels of fitness and see how they (embrace our philosophy).
“That was why we had mostly new players in the first half and the (retained players from last season) play in the second half.
“The integration of the old and new players is extremely important for us.”
Eguma rang the changes at the interval, introducing more familiar faces like Sunday Rotimi, Festus Austine, Gabriel Olalekan, Christian Weli, Godwin Obinze, Godbless Asamoah and Bernard Ovoke.
Rivers United were stunned when the unheralded Abuja side took the lead inside the opening five minutes following a breath taking counter attack.
That was as good as it would get for the Abuja club as United’s superiority and class shone through in the end.
Stung into action, last season’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) runners up responded, with a deadly dose of attacking football that left their opponents spell-bound.
New boy Daouda Ouattara was the stand-out performer as his excellently-taken brace in the 10th and 36th minutes capped a debut to remember.
His first was a fearsome volley, smashed into the top corner from the edge of the box while his second was a work of art; poetry in motion.
Best ‘Messi’ Deemua created space on the left after some nifty footwork that left his marker for dead as he honed in on goal.
The pint-sized midfielder then crossed delightfully for the onrushing Ouattara to produce an intelligently-weighted looping header that left the City Strikers goalkeeper shame faced.
The stunning nature of the goal had even some City strikers’ fans applauding as United went into the break 3-1 up following an expertly-taken penalty converted by Chiwendu Ali midway into the first stanza.
Ovoke quickly imposed himself on the game, dictating the play and carving goal scoring opportunities at will.
He came close to adding a goal scoring contribution in the 52nd minute but watched as his dangerous free kick sailed agonisingly wide.
Shortly before the end, Asamoah provided the coup de grace with a simply audacious finish; chipping the goalkeeper from 35 yards to draw appreciative noises from a healthy crowd.
Rivers United will represent Nigeria in the 2017 CAF Champions League.