Substitute striker Ifeanyi Onuigbo’s penalty goal in added time of the second half capped a dramatic five-goal thriller as FC Ifeanyiubah eased past El-Kanemi Warriors 3-2 in their NPFL Matchday 14 clash at the FC Ifeanyiubah Stadium, Nnewi on Sunday.
The home team appeared to be cruising to a comfortable win with a dominant first half performance after Prince Aggreh scored twice to give them a 2-0 lead, only to see the advantage disappear late in the second half, setting the stage for a nervy and dramatic end to the clash.
Immediately referee Sarafa Agboola signalled the beginning of proceedings, FC Ifeanyiubah went on the offensive with some brilliant attacking play spearheaded by the quick King Osanga and Aggreh and buoyed by the physicality and intelligence of Godwin Obaje and Seka Pascal.
In midfield, Ngoma Luamba was in command, initiating all the positive forward play of the home side.
In the 19th minute, a goalmouth melee fell kindly to Aggreh who nodded the ball into the empty net.
The lead was doubled less than 10 minutes later.
Defender Valentine Nwabili found himself in a good position to aim at goal, he mishit his shot towards Aggreh who then blasted home from close range for 2-0.
Aggreh felt he had got his hat-trick of the game a few minutes later but it was correctly chalked off as offside.
The visitors were clearly outplayed and at the mercy of their hosts in the first half but all that would change after the break.
El-Kanemi coach Ladan Bosso’s half time talk must have worked wonders as it was a different away team that showed up for the second 45 minutes.
The Maiduguri Warriors started to enjoy more of the possession, carving out chances and goal scoring opportunities.
In the 52nd minute, veteran Isiaka Olawale got to the end of a Samuel Mathias pass. His pile driver caught Bamba Drissa in goal for the home side napping.
Mathias would also provide the assist for the leveller.
A complacent Elu Wilson fouled an El-Kanemi Warriors attacker on the edge of his box.
The impressive Mathias floated in a very dangerous cross into the box that Ibrahim Babangida nodded to put the score at 2-2 leaving the home team stunned.
Isaac Loute, Suleiman Mohammed and Ifeanyi Onuigbo were introduced by FC Ifeanyiubah coach Yaw Preko for the injured Olamilekan Adeleye, Seka Pascal and Prince Aggreh while El-Kanemi Warriors substituted Japheth Daniel, Emmanuel Ajia and Ibrahim Babangida with Abraham Audu, Tchoafine Pade and Efe Yarhere.
Just when the home fans had disappointedly resigned to fate, that their darling team would settle for a point after throwing away a two-goal lead, there was a lifeline in added time.
Referee Agboola adjudged that King Osanga was illegally upended in the box and pointed to the spot.
Substitute Ifeanyi Onuigbo scored the crucial penalty kick to save the blushes of his team.