NPFL 2022/23 : Nasarawa United Lose In League Opener

The Solid Miners narrowly lost 1-2 against Enyimba FC of Aba in their opening Group ‘A’ match of the 2022/23 Abridged Nigeria Professional Football League played on Saturday evening.

A handful of United faithful fans had travelled to the New Jos International Stadium to witness a new dawn, but the visitors had more of the day and accuracy in display.

The Aba Elephants took initiative early in the game with a couple of threats as the Solid Miners struggled to impose their influence.

Enyimba fired the first salvo in the 32nd minute after debutant Goalkeeper, Yinka David, was deceived by a long range strike.

The Solid Miners’ supporters were left stunned by the goal.

Five minutes after Elijah Akanni had given the Aba Elephants the lead, Imoh Obot scored a second for the travellers.

Oche Josiah thought he had reduced the deficit for the Solid Miners before the break after his acrobatic effort found the back of the net, only for the flag to go up against him in agonizing manner.

The home side improved in the restart as Coach Bala Nikyu rang changes including the introduction of goalkeeper, Ameh Godwin.

The tactical decision instantly manifested as the Solid Miners took pre-eminence of the game.

In the 55th minute, youngster, Onuche Ogbelu, rifled a thunderbolt from a set piece which was parried into corner kick by Goalkeeper, Ojo Olorunleke.

Shortly after that, Oche Josiah was just an inch to claw in a dangerous sweeping pass but was unlucky.

Onuche dribbled past a forest of legs before releasing a rocket but for the heroism of the Enyimba goalkeeper, Ojo Olorunleke.

Francis Ayuba also had his effort tamed by the goalkeeper.

With a quarter of an hour remaining to play, United won a free-kick close to the box, and Onuche again stepped forward to take it. The Nigeria U-20 young sensation’s spectacular shot was palmed into a corner kick by Ojo Olorunleke and was immediately followed by Abubakar Abdullahi’s towering header which clattered against the frame of the goalpost.

Enyimba’s resistance wouldn’t last long as debutant, Oche Josiah, scored United’s first goal of the season with a powerful diving header after Ikenna Offor’s penalty kick was parried toward his path in the 86th minute.

Despite piling up more pressure to draw level, Enyimba kept a low block and shut them out for the remainder of the game, stealing the three points.

Nasarawa United will travel to Maiduguri, Borno State, for a midweek tie with El-Kanemi Warriors FC now rescheduled for Thursday, 19th January, 2023.

Coach Bala Nikyu, “It’s never a good thing to lose at home, not even our first home match.

“But the League just started. We wish we have had the three points to continue from there.

“However, it’s now left for us to fight back. If Enyimba can earn three points here, nothing stops us from getting three points away from home.

“But I assure you, this will be the last match we will lose at home this campaign.

“What conceded through some careless mistakes. But after that, we picked up and fought harder to alter the scoreline, but we were only unlucky.

“I don’t need to blame my players for the outcome of the match. It’s a bad day for everyone of us. The goalkeeper is a good goalkeeper with a rich pedigree, it was only a bad day for him.

“If there is no mistake, there won’t be a goal. We have noted our areas of deficiency and we will correct them as soon as possible.

“We have put the defeat behind us, and we set our sights on the next game.”

Coach Finidi George, “This is an Abridged League. No one wants to lose.

“I must commend my boys for scaling through this difficult game.

“Nasarawa United are a very difficult side, and when we scored those two goals in the first-half, the pressure came. But thank God our tactics paid off, and we got the three points.”

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