By TUNDE SHAMSUDEEN
FC IfeanyiUbah’s quest for its first victory away in the league suffered another set back as they lost 2-0 to Gombe United on Wednesday at the Patani Stadium, Gombe in one of Match Day 11 of the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Ghanaian Coach Yaw Preko made four changes to the side that defeated Plateau United last Sunday with the introduction of Isaac Loute, Onyedikachi Bright, Wisdom Magbisa and Adeleye Olamilekan got the nod some minutes to kickoff coming in for Stephen Eze in defence.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah were the team in ascendancy as Patrick Ikeokwu made his presence felt immediately in the heart of the midfield with couple of good footwork and passes into the opponents area, however it was the Desert Scorpions who created the first real chance in the 8th minute of the encounter as eventual goalscorer had his weak shot saved by Goalkeeper Drissa Bamba after a pass from Ibrahim Abdullahi. Goalkeeper Bamba was again called into action as he made a good save from Austin Oladapo’s powerful shot from a tight angle.
Ivorian born Adou Blaise kept his calm to scuttle the effort of Sani Suleiman in the 14th minute as the lanky player was on the verge of unleashing a belter after he dribbled past two Anambra Warriors players in the process but stand in skipper Elu made a timely block in the 22nd minute to stop Samuel Agba’s shot which was goalbound.
Minutes later the home team shout for a penalty was waved off by the referee after Isaac Loute looked to have fouled Sani Suleiman inside the area. Defender Adeleye almost gifted the host a good opportunity to score but he was quick to make an amends winning back the ball from Alhassan Yusuf. The Anambra Warriors came close to scoring as Godwin Obaje who initiated a counter attack teed Isaac Loute with his shot going wayward.
The home team broke the deadlock in the 39th minute from a well taken Austin Oladapo’s freekick after Kojo Baah fouled Samuel Agba close to the box. In added time, Samuel Agba scored but had his effort correctedly ruled out for offside.
In the second period, Alhassan Yusuf missed a sighter within 4 minutes of the restart off a comical backpass which required just a simple tap in with Goalkeeper Bamba in no man’s land.
Akeem Balogun should have been sent off for a last ditch tackle on Godwin Obaje who was the last man and clear on goal in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper but instead the referee opted for a yellow card, the resulting freekick from Loute however hit the wall and was cleared to safety. Then came the chance for Anambra Warriors to restore parity but for Godwin Obaje’s one touch too many as he should have squared the ball much earlier for the on rushing Bright Onyedikachi before it was intercepted for a corner kick. Minutes after Ifeanyi Onuigbo was introduced for Isaac Loute.
The Desert Scorpions scored the second goal of the encounter in the 71st minute after a good exchange of passes in the midfield with the ball coming the way of Austine Oladapo who turned provider as he delivered a cross from the left wing which an unmarked Samuel Agba nodded into an empty net with aplomb. In the 78th minute, the Desert Scorpions almost made it three as Goalkeeper Bamba punched out an Agba’s shot which Adeleye cleared to safety but before then Wasiu Jimoh was brought in for Bright Onyedikachi. Patrick Ikeokwu’s effort 5 minutes from time to get a lifeline for the Warriors bore no fruit as Isaac Giwa was on hand to clear his effort to safety as the game gradually came to an end.
FC IfeanyiUbah will now travel back to their base to prepare for the Oriental derby against Abia Warriors on Sunday.