Abia Warriors handed Kano Pillars their worst defeat this season with a 3-0 home win as striker Sunday Adetunji played a big role.
An own goal by Joel Djondan handed Abia Warriors an early lead in this crack NPFL matchday 14 fixture against Pillars Sunday at Umuahia Township Stadium.
Djondan found himself under intense pressure from galloping Sunday Adetunji, who prior to the match kick off received his February League Bloggers Award, forcing the defender to direct his effort over the head of goalkeeper David Obiozor for the opening goal.
Nine minutes later, Chinedu Udoji came close to drawing the visitors level after meeting Kabir Balogun’s free kick after it had been slightly misjudged by Abia Warriors goalkeeper Moses Ocheje. But his touch on the ball near the post missed target.
Balogun was yet to provide another opportunity for Udoji, a former Enyimba captain, to try to bring the ‘Sai Masu Gida’ side back into the game when he met Balogun’s delightful corner in the 29th minute but his headed effort went over the crossbar.
Pillars closest opportunity to draw level arrived on the half hour mark when Abia Warriors defender, Abiodun Adebayo miskicked the ball on the edge of box gifting experienced Rabiu Ali the easiest of chances to score but goalkeeper Moses Ocheje went down timely to get a firm grip of the ball.
The home side went into the recess with 1-0 advantage.
But three minutes after the restart, substitute Sherif Bashir, on for just five minutes, doubled the home team’s advantage when he scrambled the ball into the net after a corner kick from the left hand channel.
The stadium came alive as the spectators who had been restive over the slim 1-0 advantage now had their voices up for cheering.
But the best was yet to come as Adetunji delightfully added his name on the scorers sheet on the night when he picked the ball inside Kano Pillars half of the pitch, raced down the empty space and in like Barcelona of Spain’s Lionel Messi style, Adetunji chipped the ball over the rushing goalkeeper David Obiozor for Abia Warriors goal number three.
Rabiu Ali forced a brilliant save from Moses Ocheje in the 67th minute during a goalmouth tussle to ensure the Warriors protected their clean sheet.
Adetunji thought he had earned a brace on the cloudy afternoon when he headed home from Emma Ogbuagu’s cross in the 771st minute, but the referee overruled the goal.
By Sab Osuji in Umuahia