Hussaini Isah’s penalty dumps champions Plateau United
By Andrew Randa
Hussaini Isah’s 31st-minute penalty was all the Niger Tornadoes needed to nick all the three points in a tense Matchday 12 encounter of the Nigeria Professional Football League at the Bako Kontagora Stadium in Minna on Sunday.
Plateau United skipper Elisha Golbe tripped the lively Ibrahim Babawo in the box and the centre referee did not hesitate to point to the spot. Isah stepped up and planted the ball past Dele Ajiboye for the only goal of the game.
Niger Tornadoes were quick off the blocks and nearly took the lead through Ifeanyi Okoye who found space in the Plateau United box in the fourth minute but his tame effort didn’t worry Ajiboye in goal for Plateau.
That scare seemed to wake the visitors up as Peter Eneji and Joshua Obaje combined to set up Tosin Omoyele in the 10th minute but the former Osun United striker failed to make hay.
It should have been 1-0 to the home side on 28 minutes as three Tornadoes players found themselves with only Plateau goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye to beat but somehow, they contrived to send the ball over the bar.
Afees Nosiru and Ibrahim Babawo both had chances in quick succession but could not beat Ajiboye while the goalkeeper scrambled to gather Reuben Ogbonnaya’s long range freekick at the second attempt as Tornadoes piled the pressure.
It paid dividends when Golbe upended Babawo in the box, a foul which resulted in a spot kick that Isah dispatched with aplomb.
The Plateau United skipper almost atoned for his mistake moments later when his fierce free-kick stung the palms of Tornadoes goalkeeper Mustapha Aliko.
The second half was a topsy-turvy affair as none of the teams could create clear-cut chances bar Hussaini Isah’s effort that was well saved by Ajiboye and Sunday Ingbede’s diving header that Aliko bravely threw himself at to stop.
Niger Tornadoes: Mustapha Aliko; Abdulkadir Zango, Hussaini Isah, Afees Nosiru, Reuben Ogbonnaya, Austin Igenepo, Eric Frimpong (Bashir Usman), Ifeanyi Okoye (Uche Onwuasoanya), Abdulrasheed Nasidi (Segun Alebiosu), Bolaji Adeyemo, Ibrahim Babawo
Plateau United: Dele Ajiboye; Amaefule Chizoba, Emma James (Ibrahim Akide), Jimmy Ambrose, Elisha Golbe, Bitrus Wash, Sunday Ingbede, Ibeh Johnson, Tosin Omoyele, Joshua Obaje, Peter Eneji (Amos Gyang)
Cautions: Reuben Ogbonnaya, Mustapha Aliko, Ibrahim Babawo (Tornadoes) – Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United)
Man of the Match: Hussaini Isah (Niger Tornadoes)
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