Goalkeeper Ogundare Detan was the hero as Kogi United secured a goaless draw against FC Yarmalight in the Week 5 of the Nigeria National League, NNL encounter on Sunday.
The tension soaked encounter that took place at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe saw United giving their hosts a real fight and could have gotten a a lead from Chindo Babangida when he got a cross from Jerome on the right flank in the opening 12th minutes.
Nnamdi Martins was gifted with a chance to score for Yarmalight in the 24th minutes, off a good pass from Mohammed Isah but had his shot went wide from close range.
And it was the turn of United a minute later as United captain Abiodun Afolabi combined well with Micheal Bolaji to take a good pass to Jerome who powered past two markers and his final shot went just an inch wide from goal.
Yarmalight’s danger man Danjuma Davisu tested Detan on numerous occasions haven seen their moves to United box cut off, but the lanky goaltender was able to deal with the pressure and goal attempts at each time of every moments.
The hosts’ keeper Abubakar Abdul helped to keep Yarmalight in the game after denying Chindo from converting United’s best chance of the half. The slippery midfielder was a yard ahead of his marker to the box, he sent a powerful shot to Abdul who could make a punch to stop the ball from going inside the net.
While Detan was making a wonderful saves for United, it was all about Chindo inside the hosts’ half as he was tormenting Yarmalight’s defense with great support from Jerome.
The defense of United was called to real duty with just a minute to end the first half when Davisu took a solo run into the box, he dribbled past Detan who had dived to take him off goal range, but when the bulky winger thought he had score for Yarmalight, James Iko found himself in front of goal mouth and make a clearance to rescue United from conceding.
First half ended goaless as both sides went in disappointed haven got a chance to score.
The second and final stage of the game saw exchange of possession from both ends as Yarmalight employed more of long balls to frustrate United defense but Detan- a product of Kwara Football Academy- was at his best making wonderful saves for United.
Chindo, again, won the best chance for United in the second half when Iwuji sent in a cross from left but the midfielder’s effort went off target to the surprise of all at the stadium who expected the ball in the net.
Countless number of set pieces were awarded to the hosts inside Kogi United’s half, it was Davisu who always initiate them but the defense, including Detan were dealing with them till the centre referee Nurudeen Mohammed from Bauchi brought the game to an end.
Even as some irate fans at the stadium decided to make a meal of the game by throwing dangerous objects at the match officials and both teams which later resulted to a serious wound for three of Kogi United players from an heavy stone aimed at United’s bus when led out by the impressive security personnel for the match, it didn’t affect the result as the Lokoja based club earned their first away point of the season.
Head Coach of Kogi United, Ishaya Jatau who expressed happiness over his side’s display noted that Kogi United were the better side and could have won the match.
The former Inwanyanwu Nationale said United would consolidate on the hard earned point adding that he would make amend with little lapses noticed from the match just as he advised clubs and football enthusiasts to always control their emotions when result doesn’t favor their teams.
“I’m excited with my players performance, I’m surprised with the way they play despite the intimidation, but I’ve got the believe in them, though they took it beyond expectation especially in the last ten minutes,” begins Jatau.
“I’ve always have that believe that we will get the point on road because I’ve been lucky in all clubs I’ve coached to pick points on the road, we have a team that can pull big surprise results in away games and we will continue to improve on our games, I will only implore our fans and supporters to be patient with the government, the management and the team as we will continue to make them proud.
That (attack on referees and players) wasn’t too good, it’s disappointing, football supporters should always be prepared for results like this, and when it happens, we should take it in good faith and move on, though we thank God it wasn’t that serious but it could have been worse if they didn’t closed the window, but I want to give a big kudos to the security for their support and intervention today to arrest the situation quickly,” he said.
Kogi United with six points will next host Katsina United on Saturday in Lokoja.