MFM edge past Nasarawa United in tight contest

By Idowu Bakare

MFM FC scraped past Nasarawa United 2-1 in Thursday’s rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game, as the two teams served up a thrilling encounter at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.

Udeh Zinte gave the hosts the lead from the spot in the seventh minute, before Julius Emiloju added the second.

Nwani Ikechukwu pulled one back with 16 minutes left to play for Nasarawa United which had several great late chances and could not find an equaliser.

FIRST-HALF​

The game started with both teams going physical, and after just six minutes, the referee awarded a penalty to MFM following an untidy tackle on Udeh.

Udeh stayed calm to slot the spot kick beyond Suraj Ayeleso to give MFM the lead.

The Olukoya Boys were the better team in the wake of the goal – controlling the tempo with slick passing.

Emiloju made it two for MFM two minutes later, as the left-back struck a wonderful shot from the edge of the box past Ayeleso.

Chineme Martins saw yellow for a blatant foul on Udeh minutes after the goal as the home crowd remained buoyant – in response to a spell of pressure from their team and the early goals.

MFM kept rumbling forward, with Adebayo Waheed and Chijioke Akuneto stretching the Nasarawa defence, while Najeem Olukokun failed to half the deficit for the Solid Miners as Folarin Abayomi blocked his shot in a one-on-one situation.

The tempo of the game dropped a tad before half-time as Nasarawa United started curbing MFM’S vivacity.

SECOND HALF

Nasarawa coach Kabiru Dogo introduced Victor Okoro and Maiyaki Ismaila for Annas Yusuf and Douglas Achiv respectively in the second half as they pushed for a lifeline.

Nasarawa established a measure of control in the second half after MFM’s first half blitz. Olukokun went close, after Stanley Okorom’s clearance hit the post.

Nasarawa’s goal finally came in the 74th minute as Okoro’s dainty cross to the front post was guided into the net by Nwani from five yards.

Nwani and Abdullahi Abubakar went closest to finding an equaliser for the visitors – but both failed to beat Abayomi before the referee brought an end to an enterprising match.

POST-MATCH REACTION

MFM head coach Fidelis Ilechukwu admitted that Nasarawa United were the better side in the second half and now hopes this win will spur his men on for the trip to Mali to face Djoliba.

“Great game, but I think Nasarawa were better in the second half,” MFM coach Fidelis Ilechukwu said after the game.

“We thank God for the win. My players were down after we lost to Djoliba, so this win will motivate us going into the next game.”

TEAMS

MFM FC: Folarin Abayomi; Opara Austine (c), Uwaga Chuka, Okorom Stanley, Julius Emiloju, Ademola Adeshola, Ubakanma Peter, Chijioke Akuneto, Balogun Muyiwa (Jonathan Zikiye 89′), Adebayo Waheed (Ekeocha Chukwudi 85′), Udeh Zinte (Akinyemi Nojeem 80′)

NASARAWA UNITED: Ayeleso Suraj; Abdullahi Abubakar, Emmanuel Makama (c), Isah Ndala, Jide Williams, Chineme Martins, Kabir Balogun, Najeem Olukokun, Nwani Ikechukwu (Shammasu Mohammed 90′), Douglas Achiv (Maiyaki Ismaila 67′), Anas Yusuf (Victor Okoro 53′)

STATS
MFM FC 2-1 Nasarawa United
Corners: 3-5
Shots on target: 5-5
Shots off target: 3-7
Fouls: 11-20
Yellow cards: 1-1
Red cards: 0-0
Offside: 2-2

Attendance: 1000