NPFL MD36: Niger Tornadoes Send MFM To Relegation, Brighten Chances Of Escaping The Drop

NPFL MD36: Niger Tornadoes Send MFM To Relegation, Brighten Chances Of Escaping The Drop

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By Alhassan Kutigi

It was a match that would decided two fates in the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL matchday 36 between MFM FC of Lagos and visiting Niger Tornadoes of Minna as both teams were in desperate need of the three points at stake to continue their push for league survival.

However, after the 90 minutes if action, it was the visitors, Niger Tornadoes that had all the three points in their kit and as well sent the Church club back to the lower cadre, the Nigeria National League, NNL.

The Ikon Allah Boys who were still basking in the euphoria of last weekend’s huge 4-0 home win in Kaduna against Kwara United topped it with another win, this time, on the road, against Olukoya Boys, who were nursing a little ambition and hoping for a miracle to beat the drop, but bite the dust at the end, as Jonas Emmanuel’s late winner condemned them to a painful home defeat and automatically relegated.

The two teams began the opening exchanges so brightly, but Tornadoes looked the more hungrier, as they went full blown pressing to show their intention of picking the maximum points at stake.

The visitors had the game’s first chance, when Munir Idris picked out Jonas Emmanuel with a good pass, the forward came one-on-one with the goalkeeper Osayi Kingdom, in goal for the hosts, but hit the ball on him, in what was a crucial miss on the 16th minute.

Tornadoes continued to threatened as they dominated proceedings in the better part of the early stages. Munir Idris silenced the home crowd when he received the ball on the edge of the eighteen yards box and curled it smartly as the ball traveled passed MFM defenders and goalkeeper Osayi who watched in disbelieve, the ball sailed into the net.

Moments after the goal, Tornadoes did not look back as they continued to pile pressure on their hosts. Jimmy Abdul bulldozed his way passed his opponents in midfield, drived forward and released his trade mark shot, but the goalkeeper punched the ball into corner kick.

Meanwhile MFM came alive towards the end of first half, but all efforts to find the leveler proved abortive as Tornadoes defence remained resilient.

Second half resumed and the visitors pulled off Musa Wakili for Ifeanyi Okoye in tactical switch.

The hosts found their footings after the restart, as they ceased control of the game. Their continued search for an equaliser paid off in the 65th minute when Substitute Akanni Rahmon curled his free kick into the net beating George Michael in goal to level the score.

Shortly after the equaliser Ahmadu Liman came to close to giving the visitors the lead when his ball was headed out by the last man after the goalkeeper was beaten.

82nd minute on the clock, The Ikon Allah Boys were all over the place in search of the much needed winning goal, knowing that only a win in this game could put the team in a better position to beat the drop. Pressure led to Mohammed Sani being hacked down in the box after a double legged charge on him, but the referee waved play on.

Three minutes before the regulation time, Adeyinka Najeem was well fed with a pass, he surged forward and set up Edoh Ocheme who did a tap in, to put the ball in the net, but the lines man flag was up to signal offside.

90 minute on the dot, Jonas Emmanuel picked the ball from the middle, chested it down and raced passed his marker before slotting the ball into the net hand the visitors the lead in what turned out to be the crucial winning goal.

The center referee signal the end of the game after the additional five minutes was exhausted.

The victory means, Niger Tornadoes have now moved up from 17th position to 13th on log with two matches to play.

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