Kwara United hit Katsina United 2-1 to retain top spot

By Uchenna Iyoke

Kwara United kept up it’s impressive run in the 2020/21 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with a 2-1 win away to Katsina United to retain the top spot on the log. The match held at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium on Sunday.

Afeez Nasiru scored directly from a free-kick to put Kwara United in front six minutes from time, while Joseph Atule levelled scores at exactly half an hour with a low strike from the edge.

It was a game that showcased skillful displays, tailored passes and creative play that created series of chances and exciting moments.

Afeez struck his set piece one time, few meters away from the halfway line to embarass Goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed who was caught flat-footed by the shot. It was no doubt a first chance well utilized.

That goal turned an eye opener for the host team as they quickly initiated attacks to redeem their image.

Atule’s equalizer gained support from Faisal Sani’s well taken pass before he blasted home to displace Dele Aiyenugba in goal for Kwara United.

The other chance prior to the break came from the foot of Kwara United’s Stephen Jude but he was denied by Mohammed Yusuf’s superb save.

Second Half
Much energy was seen in the second period as both teams returned with lots of offensives and creating chances with ease, though failing to convert those to goals.

One of such was a Boubacar Massaly goal bound strike that was intercepted by Skipper Christopher Nwaeze of the visiting team. Massaly’s effort caught Goalkeeper Aiyenugba displaced before the defensive block saved the day.

Coach Baldwin Bazuaye introduced the trio of Sunday Akleche, Nafiu Ibrahim, Mannir Ubale for Isaac Giwa, Boubacar Massaly and Abdulkareem Ahmed accordingly.

The ploy was to increase his attacking options in a bid to get the needed goal. His Counterpart Abdullahi Biffo had to make do with just two changes. Deji Bamidele took the place of Joshua Agboola while Olawale Farayola subbed Issa Gata.

Kwara United would pile pressure on their hosts in the last ten minutes of the game during which Michael Ohanu and Stephen Jude were denied by Yusuf Mohammed in two clear cut chances.

The fourth official displayed six minutes additional time but the host team paid the prize when Ohanu scored at the death to help his team clinch maximum points on the evening.

Katsina United will remain at the relegation zone with 18 points from 18.

Kwara United are top of the league table, having amassed 33 points from 18 rounds of games.

The Ilorin team will host Nasarawa United on Match Day 19, while Katsina United will travel to Bauchi for a clash with Wikki Tourists.

Man Of The Match: Afeez Nasiru (Kwara United).

Yellow cards: Faisal Sani, Habibu Yakubu, (Katsina United).

Yellow cards: Stephen Jude, Dele Aiyenugba, Christopher Nwaeze, Deji Bamidele, Michael Ohanu Lucas Alves, (Kwara United).

Katsina United Team List
Yusuf Mohammed GK 1, Frank Kappe 22, Isaac Giwa 23, Usman Barau 4, Habibu Yakubu 5, Adekunle Adeniyi 15, Boubacar Massaly 19, Abdulkareem Ahmed 10, Rasheed Ahmed 20, Faisal Sani 31, Atule Joseph 25.

Subs
Ogar Ajima 33, Shehu Sulieman 3, Sanusi Abdulmutalab 26, Mannir Ubale 11, Umar Musa Laduwa 28, Akleche Sunday 13, Nafiu Ibrahim 24.

Kwara United Team List
Dele Aiyenugba Gk 1, Ganda Samuel 30, Murtala Lawal 24, Afeez Nasiru 4, Ejeh Isaiah 23, Christopher Nwaeze 26, Issa Gata 18, Stephen Jude 21, Ohanu Michael 19, Jide Fatokun 28, Joshua Agboola 10.

Subs
Iwu Emmanuel 35, Mohammed Aliyu 32, Deji Bamidele 3, Sikiru Kamal 12, Wasiu Alalade 17, Olawole Farayola 33, Issa Magaji 13, Chisom Samuel 9, Lukas Alves 7.