Lukman Aliu rescues a point for FC IfeanyiUbah at MFM
Lukeman Aliu came off the bench to salvage a point for FC IfeanyiUbah away at MFM FC in a Matchday 19 fixture at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.
MFM right full-back Justice Zachariah had given the home side the lead in the 36th minute when he met a defense-splitting pass by Akanni Elijah. Ali, who replaced injured Nonso Nzediegwu in the first half, restored parity four minutes after the hour mark by pouncing on a spilled effort by goalkeeper Adeniyi Bamidele.
The game started with low intensity as chances came in few and far between. However, both coaches made changes early in the first half and the entrants proved pivotal to the outcome of the match. Nzediegwu sustained a head injury early on and was replaced by Aliu in the 19th minute while MFM head coach Olalekan Gabriel made a tactical change that saw Elijah come in for Mumuni Amoo in the 33rd minute.
Elijah needed only three minutes to set up overlapping Zachariah and the right back met the pass with a first-time side foot that beat Sharp Uzoigwe for the game's opening goal.
This proved to be the last meaningful act of the game until Zachariah came close to netting a brace on the hour mark. The MFM right back advanced into the box before hitting a low drive that was smartly saved by Uzoigwe. The goalkeeper's brilliant save was not replicated by his opposite number in MFM goal four minutes later and the visitors duly took advantage.
Bamidele spilled Ekene Awazie's powerful shot and Aliu, a former trainee with MFM who grew up in Agege, pounced on the lose ball to draw the Anambra Warriors level.
The Olukoya Boys pushed for a winning goal and thought they had it late on when defender Kelechi Ogor tapped home Ramon Akanni's deflected shot but the assistant referee rightly raised his flag for offside.
Both sides shared the spoils as MFM stumble at home for the fifth time this season while the visitors remain winless in seven consecutive matches in the league.
Coach Olalekan couldn't hide his disappointment at the team's performance, "I'm very disappointed with the result and the performance of my players. The team played out of instruction and I will make changes after this performance," he told www.npfl.ng.
On the opposite side, FC IfeanyiUbah head coach, Uche Okagbue unsurprisingly held a different opinion from the game, "I'm happy. It was a good result. At least, a point is better than none. We had been playing very well but the results were not forthcoming, but we hope this performance will mark the beginning of something great," he said.
Shots on: 4-2
Shots off: 5-3
Yellow card: 2-1
Red card: 0-0
MFM FC XI vs FC Ifeanyubah #FCIU
16. Adeniyi Bamidele, 4. Barry Legbara, 5. Kelechi Ogor, 8. Muyiwa Balogun (Obasi 76'), 9. Odeyemi Ebenezer (Ramon 76'), 14. Julius Emiloju (Adewole 48'), 19. Justice Zachariah, 26. Mumuni Amoo (Elijah 33'), 30. Michael Mbonu (Orlando 48'), 32. Onyebuchi ifeanyi, 35. Kenedinum Nelson
1. Folarin Abayomi, 6. Oduika Onyeama, 7. Adeniji Adewole, 10. Akanni Elijah, 11. Dennis Obasi, 22. Orlando Precious, 31. Adebayo Alimi, 36. Ramon Akanni, 12. Tosin Olubobola
GOALS: Justice Zachariah 36'
YELLOW CARD: Ifeanyi Onyebuchi 13, Justice Zachariah 45+1'
RED CARD: NIL
FC IFEANYIUBAH XI
21 Sharp Uzoigwe, 26 Christian Molokwu, 19 Evans Ogbonna, 4 Simeon Umeh, 6 Abel James, 35 Tochukwu Anueyiagwu, 7 Nonso Nzediegu (Aliu 19'), 10 Ekene Awazie, 16 Saidu Adamu, 9 Ezekiel Haastrop (Onuoha 66'), 38 Igboeli Chinemerem (Christopher 66')
22 Chigozie Akubu, 30 Femi Emmanuel, 25 Lukeman Aliu, 11 Uche Onuoha, 29 Anayo Christopher, 33 Chukwuebuka Okafor, 36 Samuel Mathew
GOALS: Lukeman Aliu 64'
YELLOW CARD: Saidu Adamu 25'
RED CARD: NIL