NPFL Matchday 20: Ikenna Ofor Stars As Nasarawa United Beat Jigawa Golden Stars In Lafia
By Eche Amos
Nasarawa United defeated stubborn Jigawa Golden Stars FC of Dutse 1-0 in the week 20 of the reversed fixture of the 2019/2020 Nigerian Professional Football League Season decided at the Lafia City Stadium this evening.
Watched by large spectators, Nasarawa United began the onslaught against their visitors as early as in the 4th minute as Anas Yusuf’s chance on goal was whipped off the danger zone but play was halted after Jigawa Golden Stars’ goalkeeper, Paul Danjuma, fell awkwardly while attempting to parry the ball off his line.
In the 21st minute, midfield wizard, Haggai Katoh, found Abdulhameed Hamed who was making his debut appearance for United with a sumptuous pass in the box but his diagonal attempt on goal flowed out of play for a goal kick.
The visitors’ first attempt on goal came in the 24th minute after a towering header from Munkala Musa flew over the United bar.
Haggai Katoh brought his threatening presence to bear once again as his long range shot hit the woodwork in the 26th minute to the frustration of the fans at the Stadium.
In the 34th minute, Anas Yusuf thought he had put United in front only for his goal to be ruled offside, as further first-half play could only end in a goalless stalemate.
Upon resumption for the second half, Jigawa Golden Stars’ Yusuf Suleiman was sent off by the referee for unsportsmanlike behaviour after he was booked for a strong challenge on a United player in his half in the 51st minute.
With series of efforts on goal, Nasarawa United finally broke the deadlock through Ikenna Ofor who benefited from a great pass from Solomon Chidi in the box and wasted no time in slotting it home in the 64th minute to register his first goal of the season, as the team held on to that scoreline till regulation time.
Reacting to the victory, the scorer of the lone goal, Ikenna Ofor, said,” We did our best. Thank God for the victory, despite our current situation, we would give our all, with the motivation of the new management, to leave the drop zone.”
In his post-match presser, Coach Stephen Moga of Nasarawa United said “We came with a plan for today’s match. We watched their play in Kano last weekend and we are grateful it worked for us; We will take each game as it comes.”
In a related development, Chairman, Nasarawa United, Barrister Isaac Danladi, said, though a hard victory, he was impressed with the performance of his wards.
“It was a sweet victory but a hard one. Like I said before, this is not time for celebration yet, neither is it time for so much talking, but for action.
“They are a young side, and I have been talking to them since I came in and they have assured us they are ready to play”,he revealed.
Barrister Danladi who is making his second return to the club as Chairman disclosed that he was on a rescue mission having being mandated by the Governor of the state to take the team out of its present situation.
“I am on a rescue mission and you know success is not achieved by not falling down, but getting up after you fall down. We have just started and we can’t start raising our voices now, unless at the end of the season.
“We have been given a mandate by the sport-loving Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Audu Sule to make sure that we cross the bad situation; We have three straight home matches, and we have won one of them, and we hope to win the other two before going out for other games – this is work in progress”, he stated.
The club’s chairman who doubles as Chairman of Clubs’ Owners Association of Nigeria showered praises on the United fans for their support to the team.
“I am so overwhelmed, even though I was told that this is the second match we are playing in open doors, but to be honest, I think the fans were electrifying.
“I am so impressed, and I want to urge them to continue to come to the stadium in orderly manner to lend their support to the team.”
Nasarawa United will next take on Enyimba of Aba at home on Sunday, 23rd February, 2020, before facing Rangers of Enugu on a rescheduled week 14 midweek clash on 26th February, 2020 in Lafia.