FC Ifeanyiubah return to winning ways with 2-0 success over Gombe United
By Janefrances Nweze
FC Ifeanyiubah got their fourth victory in the onging Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, claiming a 2-0 win against visitors Gombe United on Wednesday.
After suffering their first loss of the season to Abia Warriors in an Oriental Derby, FC Ifeanyiubah were desperate for a victory.
FC Ifeanyiubah coach Uche Okagbue made only one change to the team that played against Abia Warriors over the weekend, with Ikenna Cooper starting ahead of Nonso Nzediegwu.
The Anambra Warriors started with high-pressing which resulted in Gombe United goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel leaving his post in the 18th minute to challenge Chinonso Udeh who dribbled him but couldn’t get pass Samuel Ganda. He crossed the ball to Chijioke Alaekwe who was fouled outside the box and the resultant free-kick was tipped away to safety by Daniel.
In the 23rd minute, Gombe United had a close attempt at goal. Adamu Mohammed headed the attempt over the bar.
FC Ifeanyiubah continued to show intent and in the 36th minute, Samson Junior and Alaekwe combined for an attacking move but Emmanuel Ugwuka beat his marker and hit a weak shot when he had only the keeper to beat.
The first half ended with FC Ifeanyiubah showing great intent of getting something out of the game, while Gombe United looked like they could capitalise on a counter to cause another upset.
The second half began with more attacking play from both teams.
In the 68th minute, Alaekwe connected with a cross from the midfield and made a run into the box before passing to Uche Onuoha who fired a daring shot but Daniel put himself in between to pull off a save which earned the home team a corner.
Chinonso Udeh stepped forward to cross the corner, Onuoha headed it, Alaekwe jabbed it first, but the referee wasn’t convinced until Ikenna Cooper shot it into the net.
Gombe United made efforts to restore parity but could barely complete an attacking move as the Anambra Warriors kept their shape at the back.
Onuoha proved to be an influential substitute having been involved in the first goal, he also provided an assist for the second goal.
Four minutes into extra time, Gombe United conceded a corner which was crossed by James Peters. Daniel punched it out and Onuoha’s shot deflected on Nonso Nzediegwu to hit the back of the net.
Okagbue said he was happy that his relatively unknown boys are taking the league by storm.
“We will continue to work hard. We have the depth to finish the season well. It’s a team in progress and as time goes on we will continue to work in order to hit perfection. The good thing is that we are achieving this with unknown players,” he said.
Gombe United head coach, Ladan Bosso tipped FC Ifeanyiubah to “go places” but believes fatigue played a part in their loss.
“We have identified our mistake and I believe fatigue is setting in. However we will work on all that from the next game. Congratulations to FC Ifeanyiubah. If they sustain that momentum, they will go places,” said Bosso.