Kogi United Wraps NNL Season With Comfortable Victory

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By Wale Mustapha.
Kogi United ended the 2016/2017 Bet9ja Nigeria National League (NNL) season on a high note with a comfortable 2-0 victory over FC Zamfara in Lokoja on Wednesday.
Kogi United edged in front in stunning fashion on 42 minutes when Ibrahim Mustapha crossed from the right to the far post where John John volleyed first time beyond John Samuel into the top corner.
Coach Tunde Abdulrahman’s side added the second goal with six minutes remaining when Mustapha dropped the ball into Zamfara’s box and John miscued the first chance to score but John Jerome converted as the visitors’ defense were caught napping.
The comfortable victory sealed a top four finish for United in the Northern Conference of the ‘Most Important League’ in the country, 12 points behind promoted Kwara United and six behind Yobe Desert Stars who picked the second promotion ticket.
Kogi United showed positive spirit in the match to end the season on a high despite missing promotion to the NPFL and John John could have open the lead for the Lokoja based club inside three minutes but his shot from free kick was gathered twice by John Samuel.
It was John again with another effort to put United in front two minutes later but his shot from Idris Muye’s pass dragged wide.
FC Zamfara, without any threat of relegation at the end also showed some flashes in attack and could have gone ahead with first goal of the night in the 13 minutes but Saadilu Abubakar had his goal bound shot blocked by keeper Shola Sheshere in goal for United.
It was another goalkeeper’s heroic that denied the game of its first goal, this time it was Zamfara’s John Samuel who dived well to punched out Jerome’s cross meant for Muye which could have been buried with a little tap in.
FC Zamfara’s defense were on alert to thwart subsequent attacks thrown at them by United’s forwards as Eghe Osas, Muye and Ismail Maiyaki couldn’t find a way through on different build ups.
The boys from Gusau kept soaking pressure from their hosts and wait to pounce on the counter but were not too smart on few chances they crested from it.
John called Samuel to action again in the 40 minutes when United’s forward dribbled past two defenders and had his shot parried to corner by Samuel.
Kogi United would finally find a way through Zamfara’s defense with three minutes to end half time as he volleyed in a cross from Mustapha to give the hosts a deserved half time lead.
FC Zamfara stepped up their game in the second half and almost get an equalizer in the 64 minutes when Sunday Roberts couldn’t clear the line well for United but Manasseh Agwaza dragged his shot to allow Sheshere pick up the lose ball in the box.
It became an end to end stuff in the dying stage of the match as both sides giving all they’ve got for the game and the season but were fall short of the final touches to make them count.
Just as the match was heading to a lone goal victory for the hosts, Mustapha, in his trademark runs, found John John in the box, the bulky forward missed his target but Jerome arrived on time to smashed home United’s second and final goal of the season as Zamfara defenders watches on.

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