(MATCH REPORT ) - Nasarawa Utd Bumped On Home Soil By Champions Plateau Utd
|January 14, 2018||4:00 pm||Nigeria Professional Football League||NPFL 2017/2018||1|
|Lafia Township Stadium|
|Makurdi - Jos Rd, Lafia, Nigeria|
It was an unhappy start to the new season for Nasarawa United as champions Plateau United soaked all the pressure from several onslaughts and then struck in the nick of time to pick the three points at a shell–shocked Lafia City Stadium on Sunday. Plateau United won 1-0.
Najeem Olukokun and Kabir Balogun (both in their first NPFL outing for the Solid Miners), as well as stand–in captain Ishaya Anyu and Thomas Zenke all had opportunities to put daylight between the home team and the visitors in the first half, but fluffed them all.
Zenke was his usual pacy self, but his final touch was disappointing. Strike partners Balogun and Olukokun fared no better. Olukokun would particularly remember his miss in the 25th minute as perhaps the reason his team ended the evening empty–handed.
Plateau United’s own new boy, Tosin Omoyele, who shone for Osun United in the second tier last season, also wasted a couple of gilt–edged chances, including one with only the keeper to beat, after Suraj Ayeleso gambled and saw his pass go the wrong way. Omoyele blasted over the woodwork.
The champions were without three of their regulars: goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye, defender Daniel Itodo James and forward Peter Moses Eneji, all in Morocco with the Super Eagles B for the African Nations Championship (CHAN). Yet, they were able to hold their own firmly and dealt the knockout blow when Nasarawa United thought the match was over.
Former Nigeria U20 striker King Osanga (in the books of FC IfeanyiUbah last season) came into the match with only seven minutes left. With about his second touch, he concocted a lofty pull out for Raphael Ayagwa to knock past Ayeleso for the only goal of the match, with only three minutes left.
With their spirit on the floor, Nasarawa could have conceded another goal as a wonderful team move in added time left substitute Kabiru Umar with a sight of Ayeleso’s goal, but his touch was too soft.
Kennedy Boboye (Plateau United head coach): “It was a sweet victory. What a great way of starting the season. It was a difficult match for us knowing full well that Nasarawa United is no pushover. They have an experienced coach and skilful players. I will say we were the luckier team as the home team failed to take their chances. We were able to take advantage and thus grabbed the three points. Since I resumed in Jos with Plateau United, I have never lost in Jos. Somehow, I was confident going into the game. All said and done, we are done with this and we are happy with what we were able to take away from this, and we are looking forward to our next two home matches with high expectations.”
Elisha Golbe (Plateau United captain): “We had been in Abuja for the past two weeks putting finishing touches to our preparation for the season. I am very happy to be selected the Man-of-the-Match, but happier that my team got that very important goal with few minutes left to pick the three points. Nasarawa United is a strong team and they were just unlucky not to score today. We will savour this victory for tonight and then turn our attention to our next match.”
Man Of The Match: Elisha Golbe (Plateau United)
Nasarawa United 0-1 Plateau United
Shots on target: 6-4
Shots off target: 3-2
Free kicks: 12-9
Corner kicks: 6-5
Yellow cards: Victor Okoro 24’, Shehu Rabiu 26’ (Nasarawa United) – Benjamin Turba 42’, Emeka Umeh 81’ (Plateau United)