Niger Tornadoes have dedicated their shock 2-1 win at FC Ifeanyiubah in a match day 22 NPFL fixture at Nnewi to their late teammate Hussaini Isah, Scorenigeria.com.ng reports.
Isah died last week in a motor accident along Maitumbi Road in Minna.
The left back had posted a Man-of-the-Match performance against Kwara United 24 hours earlier in a match day 21 fixture after serving out a mandatory one-match suspension over accumulated cards.
After a minute’s silence in honour of the player in Sunday’s thriller, Mubarak Ejiogu struck twice on either side of Godwin Obaje’s penalty on 90 minutes to hand the travelling Tornadoes all points to become the first team to shock ‘The Anambra Warriors’ at home in three lengthy seasons.
“We are dedicating this victory today against FC Ifeanyiybah to our player, Hussaini Isah, who died on Monday in Minna in an accident”, goalkeeper Terkaa Melai said after the hard-fought victory.
“We missed him greatly but his spirit was with us, so we are dedicating this win to him”.
Melai, a former Lobi Stars goalkeeper who last season scored six times from the spot before a switch to Tornadoes, single handedly stood between FC Ifeanyiubah and goal with incredible saves time and again, said Sunday’s win at FC Ifeanyiubah was a reward for their resilience, doggedness and composure.
“We did not expect it (victory) was going to come for us at FC Ifeanyiubah,” he admitted.
“But we held our ground, defended well and took our chances.
“We’re happy we got the victory.”
It was Tornadoes second win on the road this term following a 2-0 win at Kwara United earlier in the season.
They had equally dropped maximum points at home to Heartland in the first round of the campaign.
Melai clattered on Godwin Obaje on 89 minutes to gift the home side a penalty kick, which Obaje himself drilled home to bring his side back on level terms.
Melai escaped a sending off after the referee flashed a yellow card at him.
“I did not go out to get him down. But I would say it was tight for the referee to decide (on a possible sending off) because of the difficult situation”, the soft spoken goal tender submitted.
Niger Tornadoes now mount title challenge as they surged forward to fourth in the standings with 34 points, while FC Ifeanyiubah drop to 11th spot with 28 points.
Lobi Stars lead the pack with 40 points and closely followed by Kano Pillars and Plateau United both with 36 points on second and third spots respectively only separated by goal difference.
By Sab Osuji with additional reporting by Kola Daniel in Nnewi