Musa Bashiru’s late goal helped Dakkada FC to a lone goal victory against visiting Kano Pillars at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, on Saturday.
The striker who came on as a second half substitute had latched onto a rebound after Pillars goalkeeper Joshua Enahalo failed to parry Unwana Asuquo’s pile driver off a free kick from 25 yards to safety, in the 85th minute.
Dakkada returned to the Nest of Champions after three games in the adopted home turf (in Benin City), following a ban by the League Management Company (LMC) because of assault on match officials in a Matchday 4 fixture against Remo Stars.
The home side fielded a strong line up despite the absence of captain, Aniekan Ekpe, with Femi Ajayi and Unwana Asuquo in the starting 11. The visitors had more advantage in terms of experience in their starting lineup, with Rabiu Ali in the matchday squad and a return to a familiar terrain for Aniekeme Asuquo.
Pillars were quite threatening in the early stages as Tamara Ezekiel and Gabriel Jeremiah asked questions within seven minutes. A defensive error in the 18th minute almost gifted Salisu Yusuf’s men the advantage, but not for the conscious intervention of Dakkada goalkeeper Thomas Omokhudu, who rose to the occasion to deny Ifeanyi Eze.
Muritala Lawal was close to giving the Uyo side the lead on 24 minutes, when Pillars defenders were complacent and handed him the ball. Enaholo rushed off his line to close in on Lawal, who managed to scramble above the goalkeeper and the woodwork.
Four minutes later, Dakkada thought they had taken the lead, when Emmanuel Ayaosi received a lofted pass from Muritala Lawal and calmly dislodged past the goalkeeper into the net, but the linesman had ruled he was inches offside.
Pillars almost got rewarded for a tenacious opening half in the 44th minute, when Ifeanyi Eze lobbed Thomas Omokhodu from a one-on-one situation. Defender Boniface Nweze (signed from NNL side, FC ONE Rockets) raced vehemently to clear off the line. Dakkada also failed to pounce from a similar situation moments later, with Ayaosi failing to beat Enaholo.
Goals eluded both sides for most of the second half despite an array of opportunities. Dakkada sealed the game five minutes from time when Enaholo spilled Unwana Asuquo’s freekick to the path of Musa Bashiru, who calmly slotted in the winner.
Reacting to the result, Dakkada’s handler, Umar Danlami admitted Pillars were tough to crack, and expressed relief over his team’s return to their home turf.
“The match went well. Not far from what we expected. We are aware Pillars is a quality side. We were a bit conscious of this fact and minimized mistakes. I believe we will get better and stronger. We need to work harder to ensure the team is comfortable on the log. We are delighted to be back home. The pressure is not there. We promise the fans the best of football always,” Danlami told npfl.ng.
Despite the result, Pillars’ assistant coach, Ibrahim Musa, says he is confident ‘Sai Masu Gida’ will still meet their aspirations for the current campaign, which he said is a place on the continent.
“We are disappointed with the result. Our aim was to come here and win all three points. We had a better first half, but lost grounds in the second half and that cost us the game. This result will not affect what we are targeting this season.”, Musa quipped.
Dakkada: Thomas, Unwana, Samuel, Ayong, Karim, Nwaeze, Ayaosi, Lawal, Ajayi, Charles, Ezekiel
Pillars: Enaholo, Jibrin, Usman, Musa, Saheed, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Maigoro, Eze, Ali, Okon
|Date||Time||League||Season||Match Day||Full Time|
|February 5, 2022||4:00 pm||NPFL||2021/2022||11||90'|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|