Yobe Stars edge past MFM through Asuquo’s late goal
By Joshua Tekidek
Philip Asuquo scored a penalty at the stroke of full time to hand Yobe Desert Stars a lone goal win over MFM FC of Lagos in a rescheduled NPFL match played on Wednesday in Damaturu.
While the game was all but set to end in a barren draw, substitute Ubakanma Peter carelessly upended Chinedu Ohanachom in the box to give Yobe Desert Stars a penalty.
There a handful of penalty appeals from the hosts, one was in the 52nd minute when they felt Elom Kenneth nudged Philip Auta in the back as he was about to get to the end of Asuquo’s pass.
The match was played under closed door after the hosts were sanctioned for crowd violence in a Matchday 19 game against Kwara United.
Yobe Stars head coach Mohammed Baba Ganaru made no change from the team that played away to Kwara United in their last matchday, while MFM coach Fidelis Ilechukwu named only three players from the squad that started their last league game. They are Lawal Oriyomi, Abisoye Olawale and Adebayo Waheed.
Yobe Stars started brilliantly, dominating from the wings. In the fifth minute two quick good crosses cause commotion but were each time cleared, first by Oriyomi and later by Olawale.
Two minutes later, the visitors took control of the game and threatened. Yobe Stars goalkeeper Paul Godwin denied Adebayor Waheed. And in the 23rd minute, Akanni Elijah displaced his man and got into the box but instead of releasing unmarked Zinte Udeh, the midfielder shot over the bar.
The hosts had their first shot on target in the 26th minute from a corner. Former Enyimba man Ohanachom fired a close range shot but Isaac Jerry in MFM goal saved.
Jerry was again called into action in the 31st minute, this time he palmed away Asuquo’s effort.
Just like in the opening stage, MFM again came under pressure in the closing stage, conceding two quick corners.
Baba Ganaru started the half with a change bringing in Philip Auta for Bashir Azado.
The two sides were cautious not to be caught unaware. Philip Asuquo was brilliant, he marshalled the midfield with his passing skills, feeding the likes of Ohanachom and Auta but they couldn’t get past the water tight MFM defence.
Also whenever the visitors broke on the counter, their final effort fail them with Babatunde Solomon having a no go at it.
There was a period of end to end stuff in the last quarter of the game when Kenedinum Nelson fired straight at keeper Godwin, and at the other end Asuquo blazed over his effort over the bar.
With nine minutes to go Ilechukwu brought in Ubakanma for Akanni, a defender for a midfielder, apparently to keep things tight in defence, but it backfired as Ubakanma conceded a cheap penalty, giving man of the match Philip Asuquo the opportunity to get his team the three points they desperately needed.
Yobe Stars will next host FC IfeanyiUba who were forced to a 1-1 draw in another rescheduled match.
Yobe Desert Stars: Godwin; Ali (Odeh 68′), Ohanachom, Musa, Solomon, Anyanwu, Ajoku, Zayyad, Azado (Auta 47′), Echendu
Sub not used: Abdullahi; Shittu, Bagayan, Daniel, Usman
Caution: Chinedu Ohanachom, Nnaemeka Anyanwu
MFM: Jerry, Kenneth, Ferinyaro, Olawale, Oriyomi, Charles, Nelson, Elijah (Ubakanma 81′), Waheed, Chukwudi, Zinte (Joshua 60′).
Sub not used: Emmanuel; Suleiman, Abayomi, Muyiwa, Johnson.
Caution: Ekeocha Chukwudi
Yobe Stars 1-0 MFM FC
Attempts(on target) 5(2)-5(3)
Fouls committed 9-14