- Published on Wednesday, 01 March 2017 20:26
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By Joshua Tekidek
A brace from Mathias Samuel, El-Kanemi FC leading scorer helped the Maiduguri side maintain their home winning streak with a 3-1 win over Sunshine Stars FC of Akure to go joint top of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) log with Plateau United on 21 points.
In the Match Day 11 fixture played midweek at the Maiduguri Township Stadium, it was midfielder Mathias who missed out from scoring a hat trick after failing to convert a penalty. Bello Kofarmata scored the third from the spot while at the other end; Yahuza Bala scored the visitor’s consolation goal.
It was a match dominated by the home side from the start to the end with Agahoha Otakho and Hussain Bata having had early chances at goal. The Mathias would break the deadlock on the 25th minutes scoring off Ibrahim Babangida’s assist.
The fans responded to the goal with roaring massive support from the stands and El-Kanemi pumped up the pressure, forcing Sunshine Stars to concede three corner kicks in quick succession but were denied by a combination of good defensive play and agile goalkeeping.
A stunning low drive by Bala beat El-Kanemi goalkeeper, Michael George, restored parity and caused a huge silence to envelope the otherwise rowdy stands.
But the new league leaders should have ended that first half ahead of their visitors and again were denied by Olorunleke’s smart save of a 45th minute free kick. In added time, midfielder Baita won a penalty after he was brought down which Mathias blasted over the bar.
El-Kanemi returned from the locker room to continue their dominance and 10 minutes into the period, Idris Malikawa came close but headed over the bar from close range.
The visitors were dealt a big blow when Alaba Adeniyi was injured. He was replaced by Abiodun Joseph.
On the 64th minute, Warriors restored their lead after they were awarded a penalty. An individual brilliance from Ibrahim Babangida saw the forward dance past his markers to move into the box, dribble past Olorunleke who brought him down. Referee Nworie Patrick booked Olorunleke and pointed to the spot for a penalty, the second on the day. Bello Kofarmata stepped forward to convert and restore their lead at 2-1. Mathias would extend the lead to 3-1 making an amend for the earlier penalty loss after nodding home a cross from Babangida.
The win brought El-Kanemi Warrior at par with League leaders, Plateau United on 21 points from 11 games and Maiduguri side will next be in Uyo as guests to Akwa United.
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