- Published on Sunday, 30 July 2017 21:48
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By China Acheru
It was down to grit and determination for FC Ifeanyiubah as they grabbed a valuable point at Abia Warriors after 0-0 draw at the Umuahia Township Stadium on Sunday.
The game-plan for the visitors was not to concede if they couldn’t score and they showed it in the way they handled the second half of the encounter, warding off attack after attack from a desperate Abia Warriors side.
The first half saw the homers attempt nine shots on goal and four on target with the visitors getting a shot on target just once out of five though it seemed FC Ifeanyiubah had more of the play with Bright Onyedikachi and John Huan as tormentors in chief.
End to end
It was end to end in the first half as both sides did not leave anything to chance wanting to desperately see a change on the score board.
Ndifreke Effiong should have had the first goal in the fourth minute after a nice flowing move by the home side. Chinedu Ozor freed Chinenye Agoha on the right who crossed into the box, but Effiong’s overhead kick was saved by Bamba Drissa.
After that, John Huan’s inch perfect cross in the 8th minute found the head of Bright Onyedikachi who disappointingly headed wide.
Three minutes after Huan’s effort, it was Effiong who dribbled into the FC Ifeanyiubah penalty area and shot on target but the Drissa parried for a corner.
It was Bright Onyedikachi again in the 16th minute that turned well leaving his marker for dead but again shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.
John Huan tried a shot on target in the 19th minute that was saved by the Abia Warriors goalkeeper, Chinedu Anozie.
FC Ifeanyiubah were not done as they continued to knock on the door of the home side, this time, Patrick Ikeokwu in the 21st minute but he shot wide after nicely turning out his marker.
In the 30th, Abia Warriors full-back, Chinedu Ozor, made a foray upfront and his sublime cross was cut out stylishly by Bamba who was having a great day.
Ikeokwu was at it again in the 34th minute but was way off target.
Bamba Drissa’s heroics keep it scoreless
If both sides attacked voraciously in the first half, the second belonged to Abia Warriors as it seemed FC Ifeanyiubah were satisfied with the score line and wanted to keep it so.
They would however have Drissa Bamba, their charismatic goalkeeper to thank though, for the point.
Three minutes after the restart, Abia Warriors coach Abdullahi Biffo showed his hand with a double substitution. He wanted his side to score.
Abia Warriors striker Sunday Adetunji replaced Uche Ihuaralam while Sherrif Bashir went in for Arinze Nwangwu.
With the pressure on FC Ifeanyiubah, they started committing fouls around their penalty area causing tense moments.
In the 54th minute, one of such free kicks taken by Ndifreke Effiong bounced off the wall and then was deflected for a corner at the second time of asking.
Ngoma Luamba was taken off and replaced with Elu Wilson as it seemed FC Ifeanyiubah coach Yaw Preko wanted to shore up his defence, but the home side did not stop.
Ndifreke Effiong got close in the 66th minute and when the fans thought it was going in, Bamba Drissa somehow managed to pluck the ball off the shocked striker’s feet.
Another free kick at the edge of the penalty area in the 73rd minute and Drissa Bamba stopped Bashir’s free kick easily.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Sunday Adetunji broke free and in the 6 yard box he placed the ball to the far side of Drissa, but the goalkeeper turned mid-air to parry for a corner from close range.
FC Ifeanyiubah continued to repel everything thrown at them as Abia Warriors had 10 shots at goal and three on target in the second half as well as ten corner kicks while FC Ifeanyiubah had just one shot on target in the second half, while they committed 12 fouls.
However, it was the visitors that could have won the game at the death when they got a direct free kick in the last minute of added time just at the edge of the penalty area.
Wilson Elu could have ended the game in a blaze of glory but he shot into the hands of the goalkeeper.
A disappointed Abia Warriors coach, Biffo described it as a bad day at the office for his side.
“We will go back and see why we were unable to utilize our chances.
“Like I said earlier, it was a bad day for us. I don’t want to talk about the pitch. We had our chances and failed to utilize them. I think it’s another black day for us,” Biffo told npfl.ng.
Preko was happy with the result citing the poor pitch as a factor.
“I’m proud of my boys. I am proud of them. We will hold on to it,” Preko said.
“It’s all about conditioning and composure. Look at the pitch and we were playing away too. Today I am happy we didn’t score but they also didn’t score,” Preko said.
According to the FC Ifeanyiubah coach, the condition of the pitch determined his tactics for the day.
“It’s a very bad pitch. You can’t play football. I’m surprised to see this kind of pitch but it’s rainy season so you have to strategise and it’s all about battling and fighting and my boys really fought for it,” Preko said.
Abia Warriors: Anozie; Chinedu, Goodluck, Nwangwu (Bashir 48'), Obaroakpo, Adebayo, Chimezie, Ndifreke, Ihuarulam (Adetunji 48'), Asiegbu, Agoha
Subs not used: Ekoi; Ogbuagu, Kabiru, Okemmiri, Hammed
FC Ifeanyiubah: Drissa; Loute, Olamilekan, Blaise, Maamo, Luamba (Elu 57'), Baadu, Onyedikachi, Huan (Alaekwe 44'), Ikeokwu, Onuigbo (Suleiman 65')
Subs not used: Okafor; Egbeta, Chukwunwike, Oni
Man of the match: Bamba Drissa
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