Godwin Obaje scored a goal in each half to hand his club, FC Ifeanyi Ubah a comfortable 2-0 win over Kano Pillars on Sunday.
In the 13th minute, Godwin Obaje connected a low cross from King Osanga and his carefully weighted shot found the top left corner for the first goal of the game.
And just a minute after kickoff for the 2nd half, it was Obaje who tried to square the ball in the Kano Pillars penalty area before Alhassan Ibrahim handled it for a penalty which he got up to tuck home for his brace and the second goal of the game.
Kano Pillars put up such a big fight in the first half and were unlucky not to get on the score sheet at least four times.
But before Obaje’s first goal, both sides had tried shots on target and on goal but to no avail.
As early as the 3rd minute, Valentine Nwabili tried his luck from distance but it was easily saved by David Obiazo.
Pillars returned fire two minutes later as Alassan Ibrahim attacked and crossed into the box but Bamba Drissa was on hand to cuddle the cross like a baby.
It was Pascal Seka’s turn to get on the statistics sheet as he tried a shot from distance in the 10th minute but it went wide.
Three minutes after the opener, it was new boy, Nyima Nwangwa whose fancy footwork on the right created space for him to cross to Sikiru Kamal but his shot was tipped to corner by Drissa Bamba.
Drissa Bamba was called into action again in the 26th minute when a 30-yard shot from Rabiu Ali rattled him but he recovered on time to stop it from going in.
A minute later it was Bamba again as he stopped Rabiu Ali’s header off Nafiu Kabuga’s cross but Nyima Nwangwa headed the rebound wide.
In the midst of the Kano Pillars siege on the home team’s penalty area, Godwin Obaje had a chance to make it 2-0 when he connected a low cross from Seka Pascal in a counterattack but jabbed wide from inside the six yard box.
It was Rabiu Ali again on the prowl in the 36th minute but his weak effort was stopped by Drissa Bamba.
Just before half time, Godwin Obaje had another chance at goal but he shot wide.
FC Ifeanyiubah coach, Yaw Preko was very delighted at the performance of his side in the first half of the game.
“The first half was a bit shaky for us at the back and we were able to hold them back in the second half.
“They had chances in the second half but my defenders recovered quickly and we were able to close up the back,” Preko told npfl.ng.
In the second half it seemed the Kano Pillars team went to sleep, something coach Ibrahim Musa blamed on the fasting period which just began.
“Eighty percent of my players are fasting and it affected them in the second half. I am sure by the time they get used to it, second half performances will improve,” Musa said.
FC Ifeanyiubah started the second half on a roll getting a penalty which was converted by Godwin Obaje immediately after the restart but somehow could not capitalise on the lethargy shown by the Kano Pillars players.
Pillars still had their chances, though as Rabiu Ali and Alassan Ibrahim combined well in the 50th minute but Alassan’s final effort went wide.
Big centre-back, Stephen Eze had a chance to make it 3-0 but his free header from a King Osanga corner kick in the 57th minute went hopelessly wide.
Maamo Joseph also put some pressure on the Pillars team in the 67th minute when a sublime run and cross was headed out to safety by Jamil Jamil.
With a little over an hour played, King Osanga’s emphatic cross from the right was cleared for a corner by Jamiu Alimi as FC Ifeanyiubah continued their search for more goals.
With six minutes left on the clock, an obviously tired Godwin Obaje was freed by Msonter Tony but all he could get was a corner which resulted in a double save by the Pillars’ goalkeeper, David Obiazo, first off the feet of Seka and then Obaje as the away side continued to stop the hosts from getting more goals.
With the win, FC Ifeanyiubah are now unbeaten in eight league games, something that clearly excited Preko.
“It’s good. I am happy about it. It is work in progress and I like it. We have to keep on working and do not have to sleep.
“The most important thing is that we managed to get the three points.
“It is a very difficult league and if you go to bed you will be punished. It almost happened to us. We just won three nill away last week and look at how this game turned out to be,” Preko told npfl.ng.
For the Pillars coach, Ibrahim Musa, he seemed happy with the performance of his team and only blamed spiritual forces for the loss.
“I am okay with the boys and the officiating. The boys played according to instructions just that the god of soccer was not with us. We will go back home and work on the drawing board,” Musa said.
By China Acheru