It was a game that lived up to its billing as an entertaining encounter. A game that displayed the beauty of Nigerian football. A pure football artistry that left football spectators satisfied with the level of play.
Among the spectators that saw Abia Warriors beat Kano Pillars 1-0 at the Umuahia Township Stadium was the Deputy Governor of Abia State, His Excellency Engr. Ikechukwu Emetu, who took the ceremonial match kickoff prior to the commencement of the match. The Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Right Honourable Emmanuel Emeruwa, was also present, as was the Abia State Commissioner for Sports, Sir Nwaobilor Ananaba.
The Warriors put the defeat at Ilorin behind them to come tops in the Match Day 3 of the Nigeria Premier Football League.
Sunday Megwo’s 31st-minute goal secured all three points for the Abia Warriors at the Umuahia Township Stadium on Sunday, October 15, 2023.
As expected, Coach Erasmus Onuh made some changes to his side: Emmanuel Onu, Dehinde Ibrahim, and Daniel Wotlai returned to the starting lineup. Arinze Ogbonna moved back to pair with Collins Nwoburuoke at center-back; Jimoh Gbadamosi replaced the injured Jerry Ogu at left-back; and Paschal Nwabueze and Meme Okike made their first starts.
The Warriors started slowly but got into their strides as the game progressed.
Within eight minutes they should have been ahead when Sunday Megwo meandered in-between two defenders and released a glorious pass to Paschal Nwabueze who beat his marker inside the 18 yards box but shot agonizingly wide.
However, in the 31st minute, the home support had something to cheer: Emmanuel Onu escaped his marker and delivered a beauty of a cross to Sunday Megwo, who made no mistake to stab the ball home and send the spectators into frenzy.
Despite efforts by the Pillars to draw level, the Warriors defence line kept them at bay until the referee signalled the end of the first 45 minutes.
A heavy downpour did not deter the players of both sides from entertaining the crowd in the second half. It was tension soaked. It was played with high tempo, and it was end-to-end.
The Warriors started the second period stronger obviously in search of a consolidator. But the Pillars slowly grew into the game and when they reached the crescendo, a display of passing game was on parade, typical of Coach Maikaba’s tutored side.
A wholesale substitution from both sides made the game more interesting; chances were few.
but a spirited performance from both sides prevailed.
At the end, Megwo’s goal was all that separated the two teams.
Up next for the Abia Warriors is a date with the Lobi Stars of Makurdi away at the Lafia City Stadium in Nasarawa State.