By China Acheru
League leaders, Plateau United lost their second game of the season but Coach Kennedy Boboye insisted after the game that his players would have to shake off their goal scoring lethargy if they must maintain their top spot on the table.
It was a slim 1-0 win for travel weary FC Ifeanyiubah but they should have been up in the match as early as the 12th minute but King Osanga’s direct free kick from the edge of the box flew wide.
But it was Godwin Obaje who won a penalty for his side after he was pulled down in the box in the 29th minute and Prince Aggrey coolly tucked in the resultant penalty a minute later.
“The players kind of took it easy and only came out after we conceded that goal, but the red car ensured we could not throw men forward and had to get even more defensive,” Boboye told NPFL.ng.
“I have continuously told my players that they do not have to wait until they concede before they push forward and that is what we will be working on in our next few training sessions,” Boboye said.
Fatigue and congestion bother FC Ifeanyiubah
Tried as hard as they could but the home side just could not get a second goal, a situation, the coach, Yaw Preko continued to blame on fatigue due to a fixture congestion and divided loyalty.
“First, I am happy for the win because after a series of poor results, you want to get back to winning ways.
“I believe in my boys and I know what we are doing. The boys had their eyes on the continent and all but that is gone now and we must focus on the League,” Preko said.
“My players are committed. There is a lot in them but there is fatigue. Since I came to Nigeria, no game has been less than ten hours drive.
“Now we have played and we are going to drive 14 hours for the next game in Gombe. It is Nigerian football and it is tough for us but we have to manage it,” Preko told NPFL.ng.
Leaders, Plateau United hardly troubled the home side as they did more of the playing in the midfield but didn’t make forays into the opponent’s box that could trouble them.
United’s Salomon Junior was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 59th minute making it even difficult for them to throw men forward.
All through the first half, Bamba Drissa was only called to action when he cut off crosses and didn’t make a direct save until the 87th minute when he stopped a very weak shot from substitute Emeka Umeh.
With the man advantage, FC Ifeanyiubah threw more men forward. Tamen Medrano’s shot from outside the box went wide in the 71st minute and six minutes later, Godwin Obaje thought he had scored when he headed at point blank range off a Bright Onyedikachi cross but Dele Ajiboye saved.
With seven minutes of regular time left, substitute Jimoh Oni but the ball behind the Plateau United goalkeeper, but the flag went up for offside.
It was a difficult game generally, but FC Ifeanyiubah eventually got their win.
FC Ifeanyiubah: Bamba Drissa, Elu Wilson, Kojo OJO Baah, Adou, Blaise, Eze, Stephen, Ikeokwu Patrick (Jimoh Oni 72’), Msonter Tony, Medrano Tamen, Aggreh (Isaac Loute 81’), Prince, Osanga King (Bright Onyedikachi 65’), Obaje Godwin
Plateau United: Dele Ajiboye, Hamisu Sale, Daniel Itodo, Chima Ndukwu (Sadeeq Yusuf 80’), Golbe Elisha, Salomon Junior (Red 59’), Emma James, Kabiru Umar (Emeka Umeh 84’), Anayo Ogbonna, Benjamin Turba, Joshua Obaje
FC Ifeanyiubah 1-0 Plateau United
Shots at goal 9-3
Shots on target 4-1
Fouls committed 12-20
Corner kicks 6-2
Match Attendance: 3, 734