Mubarak thrilled Tornadoes head into World Cup break on high

By Andrew Randa

Mubarak Ejiogu who netted the lone goal in Niger Tornadoes defeat of Wikki Tourists says he is happy the club is heading into the World Cup break with the win.

“It is a good way to go into the World Cup break,” the forward told www.npfl.ng shortly after the Matchday 23 fixture.

It was a continuation of Niger Tornadoes surge to the upper half of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) log with the win over Wikki Tourists at the Bako Kontagora Stadium on Sunday.

“We played well and I’m glad I scored even though the most important thing is that we won the game and got the three points,” Ejiogu enthused.

“Wikki are a very tough side. We had to battle hard, we had to battle really hard to break them down and I’m happy we did at the end of the day and got what we wanted.

“We are a team in progress and I’m sure we will do better as a team after the World Cup break. I hope we come back stronger, do well and make our fans happy.”

Ejiogu’s match-winner for the Minna side came after 28 minutes and it ensured his side earned the three points at stake lifting his team to sixth position on the log.

Tornadoes coach Hamza Abara started with newbie Gwaza Iorliam at the back which meant Andrew Ikefe, who deputised in that position after the loss of Sunday Akinmoladun to Kwara United, moved into a defensive
midfield slot while Reuben Ogbonnaya moved to the right back position.

This move seemed to have workef as Wikki could only muster just a single shot on target for the entire duration of the game.

Wikki were under the cosh as early as the 6th minute but Ejiogu could not sort his feet out at the crucial moment with Pius Ibrahim in goal for the Bauchi side at his mercy.

It was the turn of Babawo Ibrahim to test the Wikki goal but he spurned the chance as Sarki, Moses Ugwu and Ejiogu combined beautifully to set up Sarki who couldn’t finish.

Ugwu was a constant menace to the visiting side as his incisive passes were creating havoc and one of those freed up Ejiogu who yet again, failed to utilise the chance.

Tornadoes endeavour paid dividends in the 28 minute after Mubarak benefited from an Ugwu pass to beat the offside trap and score to put his side ahead.

The goal seemed to wake up the Wikki team as they started stringing passes together and they almost got back into the game just before the half through Habibu Abubakar but Gwaza Ilorliam came up big with the last-ditch tackle to take his team 1-0 into the break.

The second half was a topsy-turvy affair as both sides went for each others jugular with little or no chances in-between.

Babawo had a sight at goal in the 57th minute when he outpaced two Wikki defenders but yet again, his finishing let him down.

Ejiogu had the chance to set up Ibrahim Babawo in the 71st minute but chose the wrong option which could have seen the Flying Eagles winger through on goal.

Both teams huffed and puffed but there wasn’t to be any goal for the remainder of the game as Tornadoes continued their 100 per cent record at the Bako Kontagora Stadium.

Teams

Niger Tornadoes: Aliko Mustapha; Reuben Ogbonnaya, James Iko, Andrew Ikefe, Gwaza Iorliam, Austin Igenepo, Ismaila Sarki, Moses Ugwu (Solomon Owello), Mubarak Ejiogu (Ahmadu Liman), Bolaji Adeyemo, Babawo Ibrahim
(Bashir Usman)

Wikki Tourists: Ibrahim Pius; Abdulkarim Suleiman, Amiru Ahmed, Emmanuel Agwu (Sabo Idris), Abdullahi Musa, Ambrose Peter, Manji Emmanuel ( Nasiru Jibrin), Forsah Sixtus, Ocheme Edoh, Habibu Abdulkareem, Idris Guda (Orji Maduka)

Man of the match: Moses Ugwu

Attendance: 3,800

Final score: Niger Tornadoes 1 (Mubarak Ejiogu-28) Wikki Tourists 0

Match Stats
Shots: 12-4
On Target: 5-1
Corners: 7-2
Fouls: 14-24
Yellow: 1-2
Red: 0-0
Offside: 3-6