Kwara United Football Club’s upward climb on the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) table suffered another setback on Sunday in Ilorin, after a 1-1 draw with visiting Go Round FC.
Kwara United started the game on a good note, and with high hopes of not only winning the match, but also reducing their goals deficit.
But the team’s good display ended with the goal they scored in the 16th minute, through Stephen Alfred, who increased his goals tally to eight in the 18-week-old 2017/018 season.
Kwara United could have built positively on that goal, but the Alfred, Sunday Odudu and Tijjani Adamu all lost a string of begging scoring chances.
Those misses gradually brought back into the game Go Round FC, as they took over completely, and would have leveled up before the interval.
The highly enterprising and more coordinated Go Round FC team from of Omoku in Rivers extremely exposed the inadequacy of the stamina and technical level of the hosts.
The visitors lost the chance to level up in the 53rd minute, with the brilliance of goalkeeper Jonah Usman put to test, stopping a well-taken penalty kick by Chile Azu.
Go Round FC’s Atinushola Olafimihan, a 57th minute replacement for Odinaka Onyirumba, brought finesse to the game and was always dangerous moving forward with his mesmerising display.
Akobundu Ebuka forced Jonah Usman to one of the saves of the season in the 62nd minute.
In the 76th minute, Olafimihan’s introduction paid off when he went past Kwara United defenders and his cross met Chidi Nwachukwu, who perfectly turned it in for the equaliser.
Speaking after the game, the coach of Kwara United FC, Abubakar Bala, said the result was disappointing. “But such happens in football.
“We created many scoring opportunities in the first half but we couldn’t utilise them.
“They got their chance in the second half and they utilised it. We were punished for not taking our chances.
“The difference between the first and second halfs was that they grabbed their opportunity but we didn’t take ours. If we had done, we would have led at least 3-0 in the first stanza,” Bala said.
The former coach of Niger Tornadoes FC of Minna said however that he had told his club management he was not satisfied with the crop of players he met on ground.
“We have been managing the players to see how we can end the first round of the season on a high.
“We will reinforce the team in the transfer window and you will see a better Kwara United,” Bala added.
His Go Round FC counterpart, Ngozi Elechi, said he noticed Kwara United lacked energy in the first half and he had to bring in players to change the pace.
“I told my players not to concede more than one goal in the first half if they must concede, so that we can come at Kwara United in the second half.
“I changed our formation to a 4-3-3 and opened up the game.
“But I came to this game for a win because I was sure of the quality in my team.
“However, we have to go with this and plan for the next game.
“I recruited all our players from the Nigeria National League (NNL) to mould them to stars and for people to know there are quality players in the second tier.
“We have not been taking our chances both home and away and that is why we are where we are on the log,” Elechi said.
He promised he would address the issue around his attacking line when the transfer window opens.
The draw, Kwara United now have 18 points, and have two away matches upcoming.
They are up against Plateau United on Wednesday and Yobe Desert Stars on Sunday.(NAN)