Goalkeeper Anozie the hero as Plateau United grab a point at Dakkada

By Fisayo Dairo

Chinedu Anozie made a penalty save six minutes from time to earn Plateau United a 0-0 draw against Dakkada FC at the Nest of Champions in the first Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game for MatchDay 19.

Both teams played out an entertaining game in front of over 5,000 spectators but lacked the necessary cutting edge which could have tilted the game to either side in this battle between two top four sides.

The two coaches lined out attacking teams for this encounter; Plateau’s Abdu Maikaba opting for a surprise 424 formation in order to accommodate Tosin Omoyele with league’s joint topscorer Ibrahim Mustapha Yuga.

Lively start

Dakkada thought they had made a dream start when winger Moses Effiong poked home Femi Ajayi’s cross inside the opening 50 seconds but Assistant Referee Sani Baba rightly chalked it off for offside.

The hosts totally dominated the opening quarter of an hour and almost got a deserved lead in the 18th minute but Spencer Bassey’s left footed effort from 20 yards came off the cross bar.

Plateau United soon weathered the initial storm and gradually grew into the game, starting with some counter-attacking play which almost led to a goal in the 27th minute but Omoyele dragged his effort wide from just inside the box.

Mustapha Yuga was then provided with a good chance nine minutes before the break but the striker fired wide from close range after a superb ball over the top by Ibrahim Buhari.

Second half

Both teams resumed the half with more attacking intent and the best chance of the game fell to Dakkada six minutes after the restart but Effiong inexplicably hit his effort wide from five yards after the ball fell kindly to him.

Dakkada found more joy on the left flank with their impressive left back Imo Obot a delight to behold as he overlapped at will to create scoring opportunities for his side. Bassey headed a cross from him over in the 57th minute before Anozie made himself big to deny the left back from close range four minutes later.

The visitors also had chances of their own; goalkeeper Vincent Edafe denied Mustapha his ninth goal of the season after a great cross by Chizoba Amaefule in the 77th minute before the game’s defining moment came two minutes later.

Once again, it was Obot who received a short corner, made his way inside the box and was hacked down just before getting a shot away. The resultant penalty was however saved by Anozie, with the goalkeeper diving to his left to keep out Archibong’s kick.

It was certainly going to end scoreless from that point and both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils in a game that should really not have ended scoreless. Plateau United remain on top spot on the league log but Lobi Stars have a good chance of overtaking them should they win against Wikki Tourists on Sunday.

Match details

Dakkada: 1. Vincent Edafe 25. Uwana Asuquo 3. Imo Obot 4. Osimaga Duke 12. Harrison Ibukun 21. Somiari Alalibo 33. Spencer Marcos Bassey (Efimi 78′) 6. Isaac George (Kokoete 59′) 35. Femi Ajayi 8. Eso Archibong (c) 11. Moses Effiong

Subs: 13. Omokhudu Thomas 27. David Enobong 29. Ukeme Umoh 16. Arinze Obuka 10. Aniekan Ekpe 30. Edim Efimi 40. Kokoete Udo

BOOKED: Ibukun Harrison 70′ Somiari Alalibo 77′ Kokoete Udo 65′

GOAL: NIL

Plateau United: 12. Chinedu Anozie 18. Ibrahim Abubakar 3. Daniel Itodo (Chizoba Amaefule 46′) 17. Isah Ndala 20. Andrew Ikefe 15. Ibrahim Buhari 7. Bernard Ovoke (Silas 64′) 9. Tosin Omoyele (Abba Umar 88′) 25. Ibrahim Mustapha Yuga 13. Salefu Ochowechi 35. Uche Onwuasonaya

Subs: 22. David Obiazo 6. Elisha Golbe 1. Charles Henlong 10. Benjamin Turba 2. Chizoba Amaefule 14. Abba Umar 38. Nenrot Silas

BOOKED: Ibrahim Mustapha 54′ Tosin Omoyele 86′

GOAL: NIL