By Uchenna Iyoke
El-Kanemi Warriors defeated visiting Niger Tornadoes 2-0 to make it 20 straight wins at home in Maiduguri in the Nigeria Professional Football League on Sunday.
The Borno Warriors started on the right footing as Coach Ladan Bosso rolled out the attacking trio of Bello Kofarmata, Ibrahim Babangida and Hussaini Bata. Mathias Samuel, Aghahowa Otakho and Isiaka Olawale manned the midfield, while the back four are regular suspects – Malika Usman, Tswanya Samuel, Ehis Kenneth and Lucky Erimuya.
It was the usual El-Kanemi squad that has grind out several positive outcomes at home and have turned the Maiduguri club to title contenders of some sorts this season.
Early strikes at goal came from Bello Kofarmata and Ibrahim Babangida to send warning signals to the visiting team though an alert goalkeeper Terkaa Melai smothered the efforts. Bata’s speedy moves kept Tornadoes rear guard on duty. Although anxious Kofarmata was cautioned for using his hand to punch in a goal seven minutes from the start.
However, the visitors had also posed several threats through Ifeanyi Okoye and erstwhile El-Kanemi striker Ebenezer Odeyemi, whose dazzling efforts almost raised the curtain in the 25th minute. Both teams were up to the task as the contest of the game rested in the midfield. Isiaka Olawale’s experience was a handful while skilful touches by Ifeanyi Okoye made out accurate passes for Odeyemi.
The Warriors took the lead ten minutes before the break, when Mathias Samuel ran into space and unleashed a bullet to the far corner of the net, having connected a delivery from Hussaini Bata. Ibrahim Babngida headed in the second goal 11 minutes after resumption, thanks to a long throw-in by Ali Malika Usman, being flicked on by Otakho.
Babangida almost bagged his brace on 65 minutes after he chipped over goalkeeper Melai, but only to see the ball come off against the woodwork. Bata’s penalty claim was also overlooked by the centre referee as he tried to slip through Tornadoes Sunday Akinmoladun who hacked him down.
The Borno Army have now stamped their authority on home soil with 20 wins on the bounce since April 2016. A feat that will leave other team envious. The win helped El-Kanemi Warriors to consolidate on second position, having amassed 24 points from a possible 39, one adrift of leaders Plateau United.
Hussaini Bata was voted man of the match for his outstanding performances.
El-Kanemi Warriors 2-0 Niger Tornadoes
Shots on target: 7-5
Yellow card: 2-0
Red card: 0-0
Scorers: Mathias Samuel 35′, Ibrahim Babangida 56′