- Published on Saturday, 09 September 2017 23:32
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By Mohammed Yusuf Suleiman
It was highly unlikely MFM FC were going to get a result in Maiduguri to supplant eventual champions, Plateau United but El-Kanemi Warriors were as expected clinical in the 2-1 defeat of the ambitious Lagos side to end their dream of a surprise title win.
El-Kanemi Warriors started on the front foot with Chibuzor Okonkwo's free kick wide from the edge of the box of MFM almost giving them the lead on the 3rd minute, but a touch from the wall took his effort wide.
After another three minutes, there was no denying El-Kanemi, this time round Ibrahim Babangida drilled home a smart finish inside the box to open scoring for the home side.
Yahuza Bala and Okonkwo came close to doubling the lead for the Warriors of Maiduguri as MFM struggled to keep pace with the pressing style of the Ladan Bosso tutored side.
MFM FC came to live after the half hour mark with Chukwuka Onuwa leading their charge from the midfield with passes from which Adebayo Waheed twice came close with efforts from range.
Same combination of Onuwa and Waheed led to the Kenneth Ehis bringing down the latter in the box in the 37th minute leaving the referee with no choice than to award a penalty to the visitors.
Stanley Okorom stepped up to dispatch the spot kick by sending George Michael the wrong way to draw his side level seven minutes before the half time break.
Just when it seemed MFM FC have done enough to keep scores at 1-1 going into the half time break. Adekunle Adegboyega handled in the box, two minutes into the four minutes of time added on after the first 45 minutes.
Yahuza Bala coolly converted from the spot to give the Warriors the lead for the second time, a lead they protected to go into the break 2-1 up against the title chasing Lagos side.
The second half provided less spark with the duo of Promise James and Suleiman Dorri coming close to extending the lead of the home side during the course of the half.
Speaking after the game MFM FC coach Fidelis Illechukwu whose side finished behind league winners Plateau United, congratulated the Jos based side labelling them as worthy title winners.
"I will like to congratulate Plateau United for winning the league. Congratulations to coach Kennedy Boboye and his boys. We fought a good fight but they deserve the title," Ilechukwu said.
Ilechukwu took time to explain comments attributed to him prior to the game about resigning if MFM fail to beat El-Kanemi on the final day.
"It was a tactical, mindset football game tactics I used to fire up my boys ahead of the game," he explained.
By virtue of finishing second they have picked a ticket to represent Nigeria on the African continent in the CAF Champions League, which according to the coach will reduce the pain of losing out on the league title.
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