Abia Warriors resurgence continue with Victory over Wikki Tourists
Abia Warriors beat Wikki Tourists 1-0 on Saturday at the Okigwe Township Stadium in a match the Bauchi style came to seemingly in buoyant mood from their late goal victory over Enugu Rangers.
Little surprise that they showed early intent in the first minute, with Bright Emmanuel shooting from a close range wide of the post.
They never looked back from that early opportunity as captain Idris Mohammed Guda had a thunderous effort from outside the box blocked by Markson Ojobo, only for the centre referee to deem it a foul, having seen a hand interruption. The resultant freekick flew wide.
The Warriors soon found momentum and surged forward for an opener as Samson Paul had a chance to shoot from inside the box, but it was a relatively easy save for the towering Stanley Nwabali in the Wikki goal.
Godwin Obaje also failed to direct a squared ball from the left flank by Kabiru Mohammed, placing it into the safe arms of Nwabali.
Wikki soon regained possession as Nazifi Yahaya came closest to scoring in the 22nd minute with a sublime acrobatic effort after expertly connecting with a Mustapha Abdullahi's cross. His effort crashed against the woodwork
As the Kaura boys pushed for an opener, captain Idris Guda found space to release Manu Garba to a one on one with Oloruneke Ojo, but the on rushing Abia Warriors goalkeeper swayed him to toe the ball wide for a goalkick.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 45th minute as Paul Samson tried to dribble his way into the Wikki defense.
A collision with Salisu Adamu was judged to be a foul by the referee and that handed Warriors an opportunity from the spot.
Fatai Abdullahi sent Stanley Nwabali the wrong way for the game's opening goal. The referee signaled the end of the first half with Warriors having the slim advantage.
The second half got underway with an early Warriors' effort. The skillful Paul Samson set up Kabiru Mohammed with a dinked pass inside the box only for the left back to shoot straight into Nwabali's safe arms.
Wikki Tourists sought for a response with a couple of intentional efforts, notably coming close to a leveller in the 70th minute when the ever present captain Idris Mohammed Guda sent in a delicious freekick inside the Warriors' box, an effort that was met with a towering header by Joel Djondang agonizingly hitting the woodwork before falling into the safe hands of Ojo Oloruneke.
The hosts pressed on for an additional goal as coach Imama Amapakabo made a tactical alteration, bringing on Lukman Bello for Godwin Obaje.
This measure almost paid off immediately with Bello forcing Joel Djondang to head back a ball into his own goal, which could have been an own goal scenario save for the goalkeeping heroics of stanley Nwabali who tipped the ball over the bar for a corner kick.
Lukman Bello almost added to the Warriors' lead with a low headed effort in the closing stages off a Mustapha Jibreel cross. His misplaced header went off target.
Wikki pushed for a late equalizer but were unfortunately reduced to 10 men when the already booked Salisu Adamu brought down Lukman Bello who was free on a counter attacking moment through the right wing. He got a second yellow card and was given the marching orders by the centre referee.
The visitors never got swayed by their numerical deficiency as they sought for a late parity with some moments of intent but the resurgent Warriors held on for their third successive victory at home.
In a post match interview, coach Imama Amapakabo jokingly attributed the victory to the magical effects of the Okigwe Township Stadium; "maybe Okigwe has the magic, as you can see we have been garnering the points on the road as well. We seek to maintain this consistency going into our next game against Heartland".
The visiting coach Usman Abd'Alla expressed displeasure at the penalty awarded as he cited uncertainties in the judgement, "it's unfortunate we had a penalty against us, though it's questionable but i cant say much. We didnt come to Okigwe with the intention to lose, but we have to go back to the drawing board going into our subsequent games".
Abia Warriors travel to Owerri to face Heartland in a Matchday 14 Oriental derby next weekend, while Wikki Tourists proceed to Uyo on Wednesday to keep a date with Dakkada FC in a rescheduled Matchday11 fixture at the Godswill Akpabio stadium.