Nasarawa United FC solidified their quest for the 2020/21 NPFL title with a 1-0 home win over hard-fighting MFM FC at the Lafia City Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After squandering some early goalscoring chances, the Solid Miners broke the deadlock through prolific striker, Silas Nwankwo, in the 15th minute after being found through by defender, Chigozie Obasi, his 14th league goal of the season.
Shortly after, the visitors turned defence to attack and their threat almost yielded a positive result but for the swift reflex reaction by the home side goaltender, Mohammed Galadima.
The duo of Aliyu Abdullahi and Adamu Hassan couldn’t convert their golden opportunities to add to United’s tally as both teams went into the break with the Solid Miners leading 1-0.
MFM returned for the second half stronger and dominating in possession including nearly drawing level but for Ini Edem who put his lower body on the line, before a rebound shot clattered against the woodwork.
United weathered the storm and Chigozie Obasi fired a stunning freekick shot that slipped off the grip of Adeniyi Bamidele in goal for MFM in the 73rd minute.
Three minutes later, the visitors conceded another freekick, and Obasi bettered his earlier kick only to be denied by the frame of the post to his frustration.
The scoreline remained unchanged until regulation time, as the Solid Miners closed the points gap against Akwa United to just three, and this was because the Uyo-based team played out a 1-1 away draw against Rivers United in the other fixture, though still topping the table with 61 points whereas Nasarawa United have 58.
Nasarawa United will be on the road for a midweek (Wednesday, 21st July, 2021) North-Central derby against Lobi Stars FC at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi in the NPFL matchday 34 clash.
Silas Nwankwo was voted the Infinix Mobiles’ Man-of-the-match recipient for his outstanding showing even as he continues to lead the league’s goalscorers’ chart with fourteen goals.
Only five matches are remaining to end the current campaign.
Coach Bala Nikyu(NAS): “Today’s victory against MFM as far as the league is concerned is important because the season is getting to an end.
“Every team is trying its best to pick the maximum points.
“We had plethora of goalscoring chances in the game, but the result was how it was destined to end and we are happy to retain our position on the league table.”
Coach Gabriel Olalekan(MFM): “Nasarawa United are one of my greatest opponents because both teams played good football.
“The Solid Miners are a very good side and they displayed that in the first half before we came back stronger in the second half, only that we couldn’t convert our chances.”
Silas Nwankwo(NAS/MVP Winner): “Before I started scoring plenty goals, I said to myself that as a striker, when you get the goals, your confidence will build up, and I am glad that the goals are still coming, and it’s my target to hit twenty goals before the season comes to an end.
“What inspires my goalscoring form is my idol and fellow teammate, Barnabas Imienger Jnr. who would always chide me that if I don’t score, I would buy food for him. So, in order not to fall a victim of buying him the food, I try as much as possible to score in any game I find myself(laughs).”
Onyeabuchi Ifeanyi(MFM) 35′
Roland Precious(MFM) 56′
Adeyinka Najeem(MFM) 58′
Martins Owolijah(NAS) 61′
NASARAWA UNITED LINE-UP:
Mohammed Galadima, Chigozie Obasi, Emeka Onyema, Tebo Franklin, Ini Edem, Aliyu Abdullahi(Barnabas Imienger Jnr 87′), Dauda Maigishiri, Martins Owolijah(Evans Ifeatu 87′), Anas Yusuf(Ikenna Ofor 67′), Silas Nwankwo, Adamu Hassan(Chinedu Ohanachom 67′).
UNUSED SUBS: Ameh Godwin, Abubakar Abdullahi, Austin Uzochukwu, Bashiru Usman, Michael Tochukwu