- Published on Saturday, 16 September 2017 21:15
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By Uchenna Iyoke
Wikki Tourists cemented their top flight status with a 2-0 win over relegated Gombe United at the El-Kanemi Sports Complex, Maiduguri.
Abubakar Lawal rose highest to nod home from close range a delivery by Harrison Madu in the 36th minute. Maurice Chigozie had earlier scored an goal in the abandoned game at the Pantami Stadium just about a week ago to put the Bauchi side ahead.
The match was decided behind closed doors with commencement from the 26th minute. Though Wikki began the day's business with two of their players absent. Festus Umanah was out owing to family reasons and was substituted by Mustapha Ibrahim, while Shammah Tanze who was ill reduced their playing staff on bench to six men.
Gombe United on the other hand had three of their players out. Umar Zango, Austine Oladapo and Afolabi Abdulwaheed were subbed by Haruna Adamu, Idris Bakare and Uche Onwusanya. The development left the Scorpions with no substitute options, leaving the playing personnel to labour through 64 minutes of playing time under the hot sun in Borno.
Wikki dominated play from the outset as the attacking duo of Abubakar Lawal and Chinedu Onyelonu unleashed early strikes, forcing goalkeeper Danjuma Hussaini to saves. The goal came after Idris Sabo initiated an offensive, before Harrison Madu delivered a perfect cross for Lawal finish off finely.
It was no rest time for Wikki as they piled up the pressure on Gombe United, holding the ball on several instances. Onyelonu failed to increase the tally after his effort in front of goalkeeper Hussaini went wide off the mark.
Meanwhile, Gombe United had their only attempt at goal in the first period coming from the foot of Sadiq Shuaibu, after his long range shot was calmly saved by Halliru. Uche Onwusanya also powered in a dangerous cross two minutes to the interval, no thanks to Harrison Madu's headed clearance that denied Idris Bakare.
The centre referee signalled for the break with no added time as proceedings was uninterrupted without any injury. Three minutes after resumption, Onyelonu benefited from a solo effort to blast against the woodwork, his bullet of a shot left goalkeeper Hussaini flat footed, but he was unlucky not to be on the score sheet.
Gombe United later came out to redeem their image, having resorted to sitting back and occasionally keeping possession of the ball. The trio of Idris Bakare, Sani Abbani and Sadiq Shuaibu troubled Wikki's rear guard severally. Shuaibu almost grabbed a consolation goal, but his long range effort was parried into corner by goalkeeper Sani Haliru.
Wikki Tourists completed their changes with Richard Jonathan coming on for Idris Sabo, while Idris Guda Mohammed took the place of Abubakar Lawal. Perhaps the priority of the Tourists remained a top flight stay as they held on to compound the woes of relegated Gombe United.
The result also confirmed the relegation of former NPFL winners Shooting Stars.
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