- Published on Sunday, 20 August 2017 20:51
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By Wale Mustapha
ABS Ilorin FC took a bold step to survive relegation with a comfortable 2-0 home win over table-toppers Plateau United in the Matchday 35 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) played at the Kwara State Stadium, Ilorin on Sunday.
Samuel Oyedeji converted a fifth minute spot kick after Ogene Elijah fouled Wasiu Alalade was in the box.
Alalade continued with his scoring form as he doubled the lead for the Saraki Boys in the 65th minute when the hosts went on a counterattack and Oluwasegun Akinbo headed to his path before he fired a shot past an outstretched John Gaadi.
Joshua Obaje almost pulled one back for Plateau United when he came on to replace Kabiru Umar moments before ABS' second goal but he was denied on two occasions by Abdullahi Boje.
It was Plateau United who had a chance to take the lead with two minutes into the game when Ernest Governor miscued a cross into ABS box but Umar nodded wide from goal with Boje helpless.
The hosts got in front with their first attack when Adeshina Gata ran with the ball before feeding Alalade in the box but the forward was denied from taking aim at goal by Elijah who fouled him for a spot kick. Oyedeji dispatched the spot kick into top left corner of the post even with Gaadi guessing right.
Alalade wasted a chance that could have doubled the lead for the host in the 15th minute as he shot wide from edge of the box.
It was all about ABS with a chance to score more, this time Abubakar Chindo shot wide at the edge of the box after allowed to turn by Plateau United defenders.
Plateau United left-back Daniel Itodo threatened with series of his trademark long throw-ins but ABS defenders with Boje were getting to it before any of white shirts could reach.
Plateau United regained control of the game in the dying moment of half time but were not clinical to found the target.
The second half began lively with both sides opening up the game but it was ABS who got their second in the end in the 65th minute from Alalade who wasted no time to score from Akinbo's headed pass.
Joshua Obaje was to change the game for Plateau United when he came on to replace Umar but was not lucky as Boje was at his best at the time of trying.
Head coach of ABS, Henry Makinwa who expressed delight at his boys' performance noted that it was not easy playing against a tactically gifted league leaders.
Makinwa however said his side would continue to push for survival till the last day.
"It was not easy, it was a tough match but like what happened in the first round when they beat us 4-1 (in Jos) the boys were ready for a revenge and they told me that they would win this match with added push. So the boys won the game. I was going to talk but they say I shouldn't worry that they would win and it all played out.
"It wasn't really easy playing three games in eight days. ABS play faster than you saw them today but because they wanted to revenge for what they saw in Jos. They had to raise their game.
"I must say Plateau United are good side, tactically sound team. I saw a lot of good things in them today and I must agree that they are good for the title.
"Like I always say. We continue to push until the last day, this is gone now. We forge ahead and hope other results favour us," Makinwa told npfl.ng
Plateau United coach, Kennedy Boboye admitted that ABS deserved to win as they were the better just as he commended his players for according to his tactics.
Boboye however stood by his decision to bench Joshua Obaje who changed the game for the Tin City side and almost turn the result on its head.
"It was a nice match, the two sides played a very good game and the better side won. Yes they did very well, they played to expectation, in Plateau United there's no constant player. Everybody is equal. Any player can get a starting place provided he justified it.
"The player who started ahead of Obaje (Kabiru Umar) did very well in preparation to this match and that's why he came from the bench but I'm okay with their entire performances. We continue from here in the next game," concluded Boboye.
ABS' next match will be away to Gombe United while Plateau United will host Rivers United in Jos.
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