Mathias' strike helps El-Kanemi do double over Abia Warriors

By Joshua Tekidek

Samuel Mathias' penalty kick goal ensured El-Kanemi Warriors completed the double over Abia Warriors with a 1-0 victory in a Matchday 29 fixture of the NPFL at the El-Kanemi Sports Complex, Maiduguri on Sunday.

Ladan Bosso's boys had won 1-0 in the reverse fixture and the build-up to this game has been the talk that Abia Warriors will be out to avenge that defeat in their home ground in Umuahia in February this year when El-Kanemi winger Hussaini Bata scored the goal.


El-Kanemi were in cruise control from the start and dominated most parts of the game. The home side showed intent with an early corner kick which lead to a free kick at the edge of the box.

In the 12th minute, Abia Warriors defender Efugh Chinedu denied the hosts from taking the lead when his goalline clearance denied Babangida Ibrahim from giving Bosso's men the lead with a headed attempt.

Ten minutes later Babangida was in the act again. This time his lovely pass from a counterattacking move found Isa Usman but the forward shot straight at Abia Warriors goalkeeper Ekoi Agbor.

El-Kanemi pressure yielded result after the referee spotted a handball in a goalmouth scramble. Samuel Mathias kept his cool and converted the kick sending Agbor the wrong way.

Alimalika Usman almost double the lead just a minute before half time after from a run of play, the defender received a through pass but his low shot from close range went inches away the near post.

Abia Warriors' only chance of the first half was when Agoha Chimezie's shot was deflected for a corner in the early stage and later Hammed Yakub's effort through a free kick.

The visitors started the second half on a bright note; they came close in the 55th minute but were denied by Usman when his header diverted a Umar Abubakar cross which was going towards an unmarked Arinze Nwangwu.

Abia Warriors coach Abdullahi Biffo shuffled his team bringing in Ogbonna Ikenna to replace Umar Abubakar who earlier had a knock. He later replaced Onyeali Ifeanyi with Zaki Godwin.

Despite that, it was El-Kanemi who came close as Mathias almost got his brace when his deflected free kick went wide. Later, Hussaini Bata's glorious pass found Mathias but again the midfielder shot wide.

At the closing stage El-Kanemi right back Chibuzor Okonkwo had his shot deflected with Agbor going in the wrong direction.

There was no time for Bello Kofarmata who replaced Mathias to score the insurance goal.

El-Kanemi 1-0 Abia Warriors
Shots (on target): 5(2)-1(0)
Free kick: 8-2
Corners: 6-4
Caution: 0-2
Offside: 0-0

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