Abia Warriors were 25 minutes away from their first away win of the season at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe before Hassan Musa’s close-range header secured a 1-1 draw for Wikki Tourists in one of Sunday’s Matchday 10 fixtures.
Wikki Tourists interim head coach Garba Ibrahim made four changes from the side that suffered a slim 1-0 defeat at Warri Wolves as Hassan Musa, Kamal Sikiru, Williams Ukeme, and Musa Newman started ahead of Jumbo Wisdom, Hassan Hussain, Promise Damala and Ahmed Family respectively.
Cameroonian coach Emmanuel Deutsche altered five names in the Abia Warriors matchday squad that beat Jigawa Golden Stars in the previous matchday. Goalie Uche Okafor was rested for Charles Tambe while Ozor Chinedu, Bell Sylvester, Shedrack Asiegbu, and Philip Auta started ahead of Isaac Emeka, Adekunle Adeleke, Fatai Abdullahi, and Ugwuka Emmanuel respectively.
The visitors were majorly involved in most of the action in the opening moment with good gameplay from both flanks as forwards Bello Lukman and Jimoh Oni impressed. Bello was responsible for two dangerous attempts while Oni also tried his luck once though goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed did well to deny both strikers from scoring.
On the half-hour mark the duo once more combined beautifully to put the visiting team ahead after Bello Lukman got the better of Wikki center-back Peter Ambrose to send a brilliant low cross beyond Franklin Anthony and goalie Yusuf Muhammed for Jimoh Oni to easily tap home what turned to be the team’s vital goal of the matchday as he took his season goal tally to five.
After going behind the hosts took control of the game for the rest of the first half but they failed to record any serious attacking threat against Abia Warriors experience goalkeeper Charles Tambe as both teams head into the locker room.
Three minutes after the restart former Kano Pillars midfielder Kamal Sikiru curled a nice shot aiming at the far post just for Abia Warriors keeper Tambe to dive to his left to keep out. The impressive playmaker was later replaced with Saidu Abdullahi in Wikki’s 55th minute double substitution that also involved striker Musa Newman who made way for youngster Promise Damala.
Wikki Tourists were lucky enough not to have conceded another when Christopher Waziri was in a position to block a goal-bound strike by Philip Auta who latched onto a rebound on the edge of the box in 57 minutes.
The introduction of Promise Damala and Saidu Abdullahi surely injected life into the Wikki team as they looked comfortable from the bulk of the second half. Wikki’s pressure on the Warriors, however, yielded positive result five minutes after the hour mark when Williams Ukeme pulling a brilliant freekick to the far post for full-back Hassan Musa to turn home for the equalizer.
Two minutes later Wikki Tourists almost took the lead but Williams Ukeme directed his powerful shot at Charles Tambe for a fine save. The former El-Kanemi Warriors attacking midfielder produced another dangerous attempt from a set-piece but his effort was thwarted by the man between the sticks Tambe who produced a fingertip save for a corner. The resultant corner kick came to nothing.
The visiting team held firm amidst last moment pressure to make sure they got something out of the match.
Wikki Tourists’ next game away to the defending champions Enyimba is postponed due to the Aba-based club’s CAF Confederation Cup engagement while Abia Warriors will host league leaders Plateau United on Sunday 29th December 2019.