NPFL Matchday 5: Nasarawa United Maintain Unbeaten Run, Tebo Wins MVP
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BY Eche Amos
Nasarawa United FC of Lafia Sunday overpowered their northern neighbours, Katsina United1-0 at the Lafia City Stadium as the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League Season entered week five.
The host went into the dicey tie after forcing a goalless stalemate at Adamawa United in Gombe during the midweek.
Frontman, Chinedu Ohanachom came close to scoring when goalkeeper, Danlami Umar’s long-rangekick went past the vistors’ defence pair of Faisal Sani and Sanusi Abdulmutalab in the 3rd minute, but his final touch flipped slightly above the bar for a goalkick.
Moments later, box-to-box midfielder, Sadiq Abdulrazaq, powered a volley from distance which clattered against the woodwork to the relief of the visitors’ bench.
Katsina United responded with some flashy and threatening attempts but at each point were met by a solid Nasarawa United defence marshalled by the quartet of Tebo Franklin, Uzochukwu Chigozie, Abubakar Abdullahi and Ini Edem, and brilliant goalkeeping from Danlami Umar.
Heading toward the break, Habibu Yakubu combined well with Souley Mohamoudou in the Solid Miners’ half only for their intention to be well read by goalkeeper, Danlami Umar.
Both teams went into the half-time with scores at goalless stalemate.
Upon resumption, Nasarawa United capitalised on a defensive frailty as Silas Nwankwo used his pace and energy to outsmart the opponents’ backline, before trying a low shot that was parried by goalkeeper, Yusuf Muhammed Bala into the waiting feet of Ikenna Ofor whose rebound shot went haywire.
In the 49th minute, the home side broke the deadlock through defender, Uzochukwu Austin Chigozie, after he rose highest to nod Haggai Katoh’s corner kickkick into the back of the net.
Despite introducing fresher legs by coaches of both sides, the result remained unchanged as the centre referee blew the final whistle, the third win for the Solid Miners in all games played so far and the second home win this term, as 20-year-old Tebo Franklin was voted Man-of-the-Match for his outstanding performance, the second time the former Virtosha Vistrisha of Bulgaria player would be scooping the award.
Coach Bala Nikyu (Nasarawa United):
“The score-line wasn’t our target, but we are very fine with the three points, despite that there was no flow in the game.
“The opponents were very physical and tried to delay unnecessarily.
“But I am happy that the current Management of Club gave me the free hand to bring in the best legs to the Club and this is paying off.”
Coach Bishir Sadauki (Katsina United):
“I am building a new team, but I played a game which I wasn’t supposed to lose, even though Nasarawa United are a good side.
“I normally don’t complain about officiating, but we will have to move on from here.”
Tebo Franklin ( MVP, Nasarawa United):
“I am once again happy but not satisfied, because we still have a long way to go.
“I must applaud my teammates for always giving their best. I must say we have been very united.”