FC Ifeanyi Ubah on Sunday forced Abia Warriors in an entertaining Oriental derby to a scoreless encounter in one of the Matchday 32 fixtures of the NPFL played at the Umuahia Township Stadium, Abia State.
The technical crew led by Ghanaian Coach Yaw Preko made five changes to the side that were forced to a scored draw by Gombe United last weekend as Goalkeeper Bamba Drissa, Maamo Joseph, Baadu Isaac, Bright Onyedikachi and Onuigbo Ifeanyi made the starting 11 ahead of Ezenwa Ikechukwu, Ezeh Stephen, Aggreh Prince, Oni Jimoh and Alaekwe Chijioke.
The much anticipated game was surely a lively contest as in the early stages both sides hit the ground running with duels and aerial battle for the ball the nomenclature of the game in the first five minutes. Goalkeeper Drissa Bamba was forced to make an early save in the 3rd minute from an Effiong Ndifreke’s shot from a teed ball into the box by Nwangwu Arinze. The stinging effect from Effiong’s shot was thwarted as the ball hit defender Adou with Goalkeeper Bamba responding quickly with a catching practice of a save.
In the 8th minute, John Huan initiated the first effort at goal for the Warriors as his left footed cross into the path of Bright Onyedikachi for a headed effort sailed wide failing to trouble Goalkeeper Anozie. The diminutive attacker would have another chance in the 16th minute vide a corner kick but his finishing let him down after a lovely footwork. Two minutes after Ngoma Luamba fouled Ozioma Goodluck with a resulting freekick dispatched by Nwangwu Arinze poorly executed.
Patrick Ikeokwu’s belter in the 22nd minute sailed inches above the upright from a good link up play between Ngoma Luamba and Isaac Baadu. Goalkeeper Drissa Bamba was applauded by the mammoth crowd for a brilliant save in the 29th minute of the keenly contested Oriental Derby clash. Patrick Ikeokwu almost scored in the 33rd minute with a final ball from a link up play with Ngoma Luamba. Ochendo Boys’ Agoha Chinenye’s effort in the 39th minute was the last effort on goal after being set up by a pacy Asiegbu Shedrack as the half gradually came to a close.
The second half started in similar fashion as the first, Defender Adou Blaise got the first caution in the 51th minute for a foul on Ndifreke Effiong with the resulting kick from Abiodun Adebayo futile. Asiegbu Shedrack had a glorious opportunity to give his side the lead in the 63rd minute but for his rugby like wayward kick.
Goaltender Drissa Bamba made two crucial saves in the last quarter of the game, the first a casual one from a substitute Sunday Adetunji’s freekick in the 75th minute and a world class save in the 77th minute also from Adetunji to keep the Anambra Warriors in the game. The fans of the Warriors almost had their heart in mouth as Effiong Ndifreke’s bicycle kick in the 83rd minute sailed just inches wide from a well drilled in pass from Agoha Chinenye.
The last 10 minutes of the pulsating encounter was a case of FC Ifeanyi Ubah versus the match officials as series of calls and questionable decisions ranging from offside calls to unjust fouls nearly took the shine off the Warriors who had to defend stoutly and occasionally embarked on counter attacking moves which almost paid off. Goalkeeper Bamba Drissa denied Adetunji Sunday in the 88th minute. Ozor Chinedu in added time had to keep his composure to cut off Patrick Ikeokwu’s squared ball into the box for Alaekwe Chijioke as seemingly the last kick of the entertaining encounter.
Full Time Result;
ABIA WARRIORS 0
FC IFEANYI UBAH 0
Next up for the Anambra Warriors is a home game against Nasarawa United on sunday in Matchday 33 of the Nigerian Professional Football League.
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