El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri displayed doggedness to defeat MFM FC 3-1 in a Match Day 26 of the Nigeria Professional League decided at the El-Kanemi Sports Complex. The Warriors started the tie without the trio of team top scorer Ibrahim Mustapha, Suleiman Dori and Umar Zango.
El-Kanemi coach, Ladan Bosso, resorted to Chinedu Ohanachom and Hussaini Bata as twin strikers while experience Isiaka Olawale got a spot in the midfield. The hosts dominated the first 15 minutes. Ohanachom made the first attempt of the game in the 2nd minute as he volleyed off target. Abdulkarim Lukman almost opened scoring for the hosts two minutes later with a well taken shot from the right flank. MFM goalkeeper Aiyeyemi denied Ohanachom a glaring opportunity after punching a powerful header from a cross delivered by Bata.
Matthias Samuel headed in from a goalmouth melee to raise the curtain on 14 minutes. Hussani Bata doubled the lead nine minutes before the break. The petite striker lifted highest to head in a cross from Lukas Yahaya.
Ifeanyi Ifeanyi was the dominant figure in the visitors side but his long range shots and solo efforts yielded nothing. The Warriors would have scored the third before the interval when new sensation Usman Malika unleashed a bullet of a shot, but Aiyeyemi kept it out with a big save. The goaltender sustained an injury after the save but later returned after three minutes of medical care.
In the second half, MFM knowing fully well that a comeback could be tasking still ventured forward to get something out of the game. Ifeanyi Ifeanyi combined well with Ogunye Austin before firing wide off the mark. Soon after, Kenedium Nelson capitalized on Lukas Yahaya’s defensive error to pull one back with a low shot into the far corner of the net.
The visitors intensified the pressure as they seek a come back but a quick break by Hussaini Bata and a superb assist by Isiaka Olawale was all substitute Japhet Daniel needed to slot in the third goal in the 66th minute. MFM however protested the goal, claiming the scorer was offside.
Adebgoyega Adekunle and Abara Henry’s introductions re-ignited the striking force of the Lagos team, though their strength was unable to yield positively. El-Kanemi Warriors held on to make it eight wins at their Maiduguri home. However, Kenedium’s goal made MFM the first and only team to have scored against El-Kanemi since they returned to Maiduguri this season.
The win propels El-Kanemi to ninth on the league log, having amassed 34 points from 25 games while MFM are in 10th position with 33 points from 24 matches.