By Godwin Wambebe
Kogi United football Club narrowly lost to Road Safety Football Club of Abuja by lone goal in the second round of the Nigerian National League, Northern Conference, played at the FIFA Goal Project, Package B of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja, on Saturday
The lone goal came via a penalty awarded to the host after the Centre referee adjudged Oladapo Tunde to have brought down a goal bound opponent in his 18 yard box.
The visitors who are currently in the relegation zone of Group A2 came into the match on the back of a one-all draw with the same side in the last fixture of the 1st round.
The week 10 clash between Road Safety and Kogi united was a little bit delayed due to the late arrival of the match officials to the Nation’s capital as a result of the late release of list of match officials by the Referee appointment committe.
The officials later arrived and the match started at about 4:28 pm. Both sides started well by sizing each other up trying to break the deadlock with occassional efforts at goal but all trials to make the difference proved abortive to the end of the first half.
The second half resumed with high intensity by the FRSC boys who mounted aggressive pressure with periodic flashes at the visitors’ goal mouth.
The brilliant saves from United’s keeper Salisu Ogbe rescued the visitors from an embarrassing outing as he threw in everything to save the situation.
The brilliance however did not deter the host as they kept their feet on the gas pedal until in the 49th minute of the encounter when Oladapo Tunde allegedly brought down an opponent in the penalty area resulting in the spot kick which was brillianly converted for the host’s only goal.
The goal was the tonic needed by the visitors as they bombarded their opponent’s half with scintillating display of passes to the admiration of the spectators.
The trio of Jibril Abdulwahab, John Jerome and Ibrahim Enesi mesmerized and became a thorn in the flesh of the FRSC Boys.
John Onuh, Ismaila Yusuf,Aodona Zenke and Alhassan Muhammed were brought in to add more bite to the visitors attack, but looked a little too late for redemption as the game ended 1-0 in favour of the host.
Speaking to news man after the match, the Techical Adviser of Kogi United Abdulsalam Aliyu praised his side for playing well and to instructions and despite the loss.
He berated the Road Safety players for time-wasting and employing other unnecessary delay tactics like feigning injuries almost every minute just to kill time and the hiding of balls by fans.
He however refused to criticize the match officials for some of the controversial calls and decisions made.
According to him, “I hate accusing referees.The penalty awarded to Road Safety was no penalty at all as it was the player that ran into him.The boys tried.We will put this loss behind us and start preparing for our next game which is against group A2 table toppers Niger tornadoes in Lokoja”
The Technical Adviser posited that a whole lot needed to be done if the authorities and the League handlers want the League to improve, with particular reference to the officiating standard.
Kogi United is expected to welcome Niger Tornadoes of Minna to the Confluence Stadium Lokoja on Saturday, 15th May 2021. It is a make-or-break match for the team if they must make it out of relegation.