Kwara United FC of Ilorin on Wednesday came from a goal down to force Enyimba International FC of Aba to a draw.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Match Day 16 Nigeria Professional Football League encounter was played at the Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin.
Ernest Governor of Enyimba was adjudged to have been manhandled in the Kwara United’s box resulting into a penalty in the sixth minute.
Ikechukwu Ibenegbu of Enyimba converted the penalty, sending Godwin Ayalogu to a wrong direction for the People’s Elephant to take a lead.
Kwara United’s Stephen Alfred fired from a long range but Ikechukwu Ezenwa was in the right position to deal with his effort.
With 28 minutes on the clock, Enyimba’s appeal for a penalty was turned down by the centre referee.
Freedom Omofoman who replaced injured Stephen Chukwude in the 27th minute, dribbled through Kwara United’s defence before he was adjudged to have been wrestled to the ground.
Michael Ohanu would have put Kwara United on level term in the 34th minute with Ezenwa to beat but headed wide.
Enyimba dominated much of the proceedings in the first half but could not manage more than a lone goal in the first half.
With six minutes into the restart, Ohanu perfectly laid the ball before an oncoming Alfred, who picked his spot and located it perfectly, leaving Ezenwa in a no man’s land for the Harmony Boys equaliser.
In the 52nd minute, Alfred would have put Kwara United ahead when he exchanged a pass with Ohanu, but Ezenwa gathered very close to his line to deny the homers again.
In the 88th minute, Chinonso Okonkwo missed another opportunity for Enyimba to win the game as Magaji Issa tracked back to deny him.
Speaking after the match, the Chief Coach of Kwara United, Suleiman Ashifat, said his boys were losing the ball carelessly too often to the opponents, making life difficult for them to play.
Ashifat said: “We lacked composure in the first quarter of the game but we were able to correct that after the half time team talk.
“We approached the second half differently and tactically because we gave Enyimba plenty spaces to play.
“We had to close down the spaces and put pressure on them to get our equaliser.”
The Kwara United gaffer was optimistic that his side will survive the drop because there is plenty to play for in the second round of the league.
Ashifat assured that the Harmony Boys will beef up the team where it is lacking capacity to deliver its mandate this season.
Paul Aigbogun, Enyimba’s coach, told newsmen after the game that he was proud of his boys for putting up such a good display that earned them the one point.
Aigbogun, who agreed that fatigue affected his boys, said it was not the reason they could not win the match.
He said: “It is expected that the home team will come, they did and it paid off for them.
“Kwara United is not a bad team, they have gotten some good away results too.”
Aigbogun was fully of optimistic that his team will cope with the rigorous requirement to play locally and on the continent.