Sunusi Ibrahim and Anas Yusuf both scored twice as Nasarawa United defeated El-Kanemi Warriors 5-1 in one of the Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 16 fixture at the Lafia City Stadium on Sunday.
El-Kanemi came into the game in the second position and hoped to consolidate their quest for a playoff spot but Nasarawa United proved they wanted the game more in order to boost their chances of survival in the league.
Abubakar Abdullahi who is in his third season in the topflight captained the Solid Miners in the absence of injured team captain Emmanuel Makama.
The visitors started the game slowly, as they had difficulties dealing with the deadly combination of Sunusi and Anas Yusuf in Nasarawa United attack.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to indicate their intentions when within 45 seconds of kickoff, Sunusi latched unto a long range pass to blast past Modou Jobe in goal for El-Kanemi.
The hosts never allowed their guests to settle into the game. Even as El-Kanemi tried to do what they are renowned for by knocking the ball around spearheaded by Sunday Anthony in the middle of the park, the free-flowing game of the Solid Miners never let them in.
In the 30th minute, Ikenna Offor zoomed in menacingly from the left, put the ball on a plate for Sunusi to tap in his sixth goal of the season.
Two minutes later, Anas Yusuf jabbed in the third from Isah Ndala’s free-kick.
What would have been one of the goals of the season was cancelled in the 44th minute.
Anas’ bicycle kick off Sunusi’s cross had gone in but the linesman’s flag was up for offside.
At half-time, the scoreline flattered El-Kanemi at 3-0 but they were in for more problems after the break.
In the 50th minute, Lucky Erimuya fouled goal-bound Lawal Abubakar. Two minutes later, Isa Ndala curled in the ensuing free-kick.
El-Kanemi got a consolation in the 65th minute when Sulley Mohammed finished off Chinedu Ohanachom’s cross.
When Emmanuel Ogbole was introduced for Sunusi in the 73rd minute, El-Kanemi thought their problems were over, but they were in for further torture.
Unleashed from the Nasarawa youth team, Ogbole is a front foot player who linked up with Anas to pile more pressure on the visitors.
Four minutes later, Ogbole hit the woodwork and in the 88th minute, he guided in Anas’ cross for Nasarawa United’s fifth goal.
The victory takes Nasarawa United to fourth place in Group B, three points behind group leaders Akwa United while El-Kanemi remains in second place.