NPFL: Gutsy Abia Warriors jump to fifth after fighting back to edge Elkanemi


Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia fought back from a goal down to beat Elkanemi Warriors of Maiduguri 2-1 in a week 20 Nigeria Professional Football League encounter decided at the Umuahia Township Stadium.


Spectators were still making their way into the arena when striker, Sulley Mohammed stunned the home team with the opening goal as he nodded in, Kabiru Balogun’s cross beyond Joshua Enaholo in goal for the Umuahia Landlords.

After a flurry of missed opportunities, Atilola Tunde Salami capitalised on Lucky Erimuya’s poor back pass to equalise, five minutes to the end of the first 45 minutes while substitute, Obi Samson netted the winner for the Umuahia Warriors from the penalty spot in the second half of injury time after Jimoh Oni was brought down in the 16- metre box.

Abia Warriors were in commanding mood, but were to find themselves stunned in the second minute after Kabiru Balogun put in a dangerous cross which was headed home by Mohammed.

To their credit the hosts dusted themselves off and went looking for an equaliser, but again luck eluded them as Fatai Abdullahi Abdullahi’s attempt from 25 yards was kept out by goalkeeper Itodo Akor.

Elkanemi Warriors continued to live dangerously as Paul Samsom came within inches of finding the bottom corner before Itodo made an incredible save with his feet to keep out close range shot on 33 minutes.

The pressure continued to mount on the Desert Warriors defence and the Umuahia Warriors finally got the goal they deserved when Salami pounced on Lucky Erumiya’s dreadful back pass to roll the ball through Akor’s legs to make it 1-1 as the first half ended.

When play resumed, the hosts were the first to attack as Jimoh Oni’s effort crashed against the post after a brilliant team work.

As the crowd cheered them on, Abia Warriors pushed for the winner and it came in the injury time as substitute Obi Samson held his nerves to convert a last gasp penalty.

Both El-Kanemi Warriors coach, Babaganaru Mohammed and his Abia Warriors counterpart, Emmanuel Deutcsh effected the necessary substitutions but there were no further goals as the referee blew off the highly entertaining game.

Abia Warriors have now won their last three games and have climbed to fifth on the Group B ladder with 27 points from 20 games while third placed Elkanemi have picked 30 points from the same number of matches.

Next for Abia Warriors is an away game against leaders, Akwa United in Uyo this weekend while Elkanemi welcome FC Ifeanyi Ubah in Maiduguri.

Abia Warriors XI:
Joshua Enaholo 1
Emeka Isaac 2
Ozioma Goodluck 32
Fatai Abdullahi 4
Adebayo Abiodun 6
Austin Obaroakpo 16
Ibrahim Olawoyin 11
Paul Samson 20
Atilola Tunde Salami 12
Shedrack Asiegbu 10
Jimoh Oni 24

Godgift Elkanah 35
Garba Mohammed 15
Chinedu Efugh 30
Hope Fiberesima 27
Daniel Mark 14
Amos Umaru 8
Obi Samson 21

Elkanemi Warriors XI:
Akor Itodo 30
Innocent Gabriel 13
Maamo Joe 2
Abdulrazak Aliyu 14
Lucky Erimuya 6
Osita Echendu 28
Sulley Mohammed 9
Sunday Anthony 8
Zinte Udeh 22
Anthony Yeful 16
Kabiru Balogun 23

George Michael 1
Abraham Audu 10
Aliyu Yakubu 27
Chinedu Ohanachom 19
Babatunde Solomon 5
Emma Ihezuo 15
Isaac Giwa 35


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