Substitute David Ozoemena scored Kogi United’s first away goal of the Nigeria National League, NNL season in the 1-1 Week Seven encounter against Jigawa Golden Stars on Saturday.
The pressure soaked match played at the Hadejia Township Stadium saw the Confluence Boys threw away opening chances which could have got them the lead.
Feeder team graduate, Enesi Sanni Ibrahim who was handed his debut start for United had a chance to give his side 17th minutes’ lead but had his shot went off target after gifted with a good pass from John Jerome.
It was Ibrahim again who headed straight to the waiting hands of Jigawa after a through pass from Mayaki Ismail at half an hour mark time.
Jigawa Golden Stars’ first real attempt was a volley from Lucky Vandi that went over United’s crossbar.
United’s Samson Pius was tripped at the edge of Jigawa’s box by Adamu Adam when released to take a shot but referee Ahmed Malik from Kaduna waived a foul for the visitors.
That resulted into Pius’ removal for eventual goal scorer for Kogi United, David Ozoemena before the end of half time.
The boys of coach Ishaya Jatau resumed the second half with the same spirit with good display of soccer artistries and perfect defending.
They continue to pile pressure on their hosts until it later paid off in the 56th minutes when Iwuji Emeka Kingsley laid a good pass to Ozoemena down the left, the left-winger took a sole run into the box before beating keeper Emma James to the left side of the post.
Tension began to grow more on Kogi United after taking the lead but were up to the task with a near perfect defending.
The home fans disrupted the game for about seven minutes as the ref had to halt the game for normalcy to return soon after.
The last ten minutes of the game was full of pressure on United as they had to deal with long plays into their goal area.
After second pause of the game due to unrest from home fans, Jigawa won a corner which was taken by Lucky Vandi. Joseph Jatau was tripped when trying to make a punch but ref waived a foul for him and allowed Ibrahim Umar to smashed in a rebound shot from Idris Sanni Aloma’s clearance in the 89th minutes.
Coach Ishaya Jatau of Kogi United, who would have been happier with the whole points for his side expressed satisfaction with the result adding that it’s a big relief for the Confluence Boys after their last week home loss to Katsina United.
He said United would use their mid season break to make needed adjustment to do better in the second stanza of the season.
“Well I’m satisfied with this result but I would have been the most happiest man on earth had the game ended in a win for us,” begin the former Inwanyanwu Nationale striker.
“We are ok with our first round performance, even though this isn’t where we would love to be, the break will be good for us to adjust and make some corrections before we resume again, I still have confidence and belief in my players and we believe God will crown our hard work with happy ending this season,” he said.
Coach of Jigawa Stars, Yunus Elshama who commended Kogi United for their fighting spirit said his side was ok with a point from the game just as said all hope isn’t lost for Stars.
Kogi United have however garnered eight points from seven games and will resume the second round of the NNL with a home game against Jigawa Golden Stars.