It was another action-packed weekend in the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League across the country with Katsina United playing host to Nasarawa United FC in the matchday 25 fixture at the 35,000 capacity Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina.
Prior to kick-off, both teams were miles apart on the league table with the Solid Miners ahead of the ‘Chanji Boys’ with eighteen points after twenty-four matches apiece.
With endless hunger to finish among the top-three teams at the end of the season, Nasarawa United rallied from behind to draw level in the 21st minute of the first half through defender, Chigozie Obasi’s freekick after the hosts had taken the lead from the spot in the 18th minute courtesy of Nnoshiri Samuel.
Nasarawa United almost increased the tally when Silas Nwankwo found freestanding Aliyu Abdullahi but the latter’s low tap flipped inches above the cross bar.
The host’s reversed pressure paid off in the half-hour mark as Samuel Kalu benefitted from a goal area scramble to put Katsina United 2-1 up.
Before the break, Nasarawa United’s call for a penalty after Anas Yusuf was clipped down inside the box was waved away by the referee, Idowu Samuel, a decision which didn’t augur well with the visitors’ bench.
Upon resumption from the break, Nasarawa United took control of the game as Yusuf Mohammed, in goal for Katsina United, was called into several forced saves by the trio of Anas Yusuf, Aliyu Abdullahi and Chigozie Obasi.
The home side returned United’s threats through the pair of Joseph Atule and Usman Barau but their efforts were parried away by goalkeeper, Mohammed Galadima.
Both sides made some changes with coach Bala Nikyu handing Second league appearance to Cameroonian attacker, Platini Kahan, after his first appearance in Ilorin during the first round of the current football Season.
Hardly had the bulky striker settled down in the game than the first goal opportunity would come his way.
The foreign import was released by substitute, Bashiru Usman, but his precise strike from the final third was toed out by the whiskers from the intended destination.
Moments later, the Cameroonian and Dauda Maigishiri were clawed down inside the box in separate occasions but the Solid Miners’ calls for a penalty were again ignored by the referee.
Substitute, Michael Tochukwu’s left-footed shot struck the cross bar towards the closing stages of the game.
The hosts were, however, reduced to ten men after captain, Usman Barau received his second yellow card of the evening for a strong tackle on the menacing teenage sensation, Michael Tochukwu, in the second minute of added time.
The scoreline remained unchanged as the referee blew the final whistle.
Nasarawa United drops to 4th position, six points behind Kano Pillars who beat Enyimba 2-1 to top the league chart with 48points.
The Solid Miners will next host Warri Wolves at the Lafia City Stadium during the midweek before taking on Plateau United on Sunday at the same venue.
Coach Bala Nikyu(NAS)
“It’s a good match but football comes in different spheres.
“We conceded two quick goals in the first-half because we didn’t get things right.
“But when we took control of the game in the second-half, the goals weren’t coming our ways – that is what the league entails, you could play well and still not get the desired result and vice versa.
“I wasn’t happy when some of our calls were not given attention to, and I think I have the right to react when I’m not happy about certain decisions.
“But it’s ok. It’s a good game altogether.”
Coach Azeez Mohammed(KAT)
“We are happy we got the three points.
“Nasarawa United is not a push-over team. It’s a very strong team, and we are just trying to build our team and change the players’ mentality to winning ways.
“Nasarawa United’s maturity and experience came to bear during the closing stages of the game. They were just unlucky to lose the game.