Alfred rescues point for Kwara United in draw with Enyimba
By Yinka Owolewa
Kwara United on Wednesday put up a better second half performance to force Enyimba to a one-all draw in a rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match at the Kwara Stadium in Ilorin.
Former ABS FC defender, Ernest Governor, was manhandled in the Kwara United’s box resulting into a penalty in the sixth minute.
Ikechukwu Ibenegbu stepped forward to convert the penalty by sending Godwin Ayalogu in the wrong direction for the People’s Elephant to take the lead.
In the 22nd minute, Kwara United leading scorer this season, Stephen Alfred fired from 35 yards but Ikechukwu Ezenwa was in the right position to deal with his effort.
With 28 minutes on the clock, Enyimba appealed for a penalty was turned down by the centre referee when Freedom Omofoman who replaced injured Stephen Chukwude, dribbled through Kwara United’s defence but went down under the attention of his markers.
Michael Ohanu would have put Kwara United on level terms in the 34th minute with Ezenwa to beat but his header went wide.
Enyimba dominated much of the proceedings in the first half but could not extend their lead as the first half ended 0-1.
With six minutes into the restart, Ohanu perfectly laid the ball before an onrushing Alfred, who picked his spot to finish perfectly past Ezenwa who was all over the place. It was a deserved equalizer for the Harmony Boys.
One minute later, Alfred would have put Kwara United ahead when he exchanged a pass with Ohanu but Ezenwa gathered very close to his line to deny the home team again.
In the 59th minute, Rabiu Mohammed was presented with a golden opportunity to put his team ahead with Ezenwa to beat but fired wide.
Omofoman missed an opportunity to hand Enyimba a late advantage in the 82nd minute with Ayalogu to beat but hesitated before Kabiru Isiaka tracked back to displace him off the ball and made a vital clearance.
In the 88th minute, Chinonso Okonkwo missed another opportunity for Enyimba to win the game as Magaji Issa tracked back to deny him.
Speaking after the coach, Kwara United assistant coach, Suleiman Ashifat, said his boys lost the ball too often to the opponents, and made life difficult for themselves in the match.
“We lacked composure in the first quarter of the game but we were able to correct that during the half time team talk.
“We approached the second half differently tactically because we gave Enyimba plenty spaces to play.
“We had to close down the spaces and put pressure on them to get our equaliser,” Ashifat said.
Ashifat is optimistic that his side will survive the drop because there is plenty to play for in the second round of the league.
He assured that the Harmony Boys will beef up the team where it is lacking capacity to deliver its mandate this season.
Enyimba head coach Paul Aigbogun said after the game that he was proud of his boys for putting up such a good display that earned them a point.
“It is expected that the home team will come, they did and it paid off for them.
“Kwara United is not a bad team, they have gotten some good away results too” Aigbogun said.
Kwara United still remain bottom of the table and now have 16 points from 15 matches. Enyimba are six points ahead of the Ilorin club and occupy seventh place.