BY WALE MUSTAPHA.
Kogi United took a step closer to the playoffs for the Nigeria Professional Football League after beating Mighty Jets of Jos 2-1 in the Matchday 17 of Nigeria National League in Lokoja.
Olushola Ajala and John Jerome scored two second half goals for the hosts after both sides couldn’t produce any meaningful talking points in the first half.
Isah Inah gave Mighty Jets a lifeline for a comeback with ten minutes to go after capitalizing on a let off in United’s defense.
The hosts would have goalkeeper Shola Sheshere to thank for his heroic save in the stoppage time as he denied Anthony Igoche an opportunity to equalize for Jets.
The victory has however put Kogi United back to top of Group A2 with a match to end the season.
Coach Tunde Abdulrahman kept faith in same team that prosecuted the last game against FRSC with John John and John Jerome flanking Ibrahim Enesi in United’s attack with Ajala and Muye playing behind them.
The hosts couldn’t break the Jets’ defense through the first as the visitors sat deep to their half.
Kogi United scored with their first attack two minutes into restart with Ajala 30 meters’ screamer caught Innocent Ndem unaware and put United in the driving seat.
United’s full back Femi Adewumi allowed some spaces down the left and delivered a cross which Jerome headed in to double their in the 67th minute.
Jets’ coach Alhaji Aminu made two quick changes after his side conceded the second goal and pressed higher to stage a comeback.
The Jos based side got a goal in the 80th minute when Inah beat the offside trap and placed the ball past Sheshere to make it 2-1.
Substitute Sunday Stephen almost restored United’s two goal lead but his shot hit the crossbar after another well measured pass from Femi.
Kogi United were almost denied a hundred percent home records in the stoppage time by Igoche but Sheshere put his body on the line to keep the scoreline unchanged till final whistle.
Coach Abdulrahman who expressed delight as he’s set make another history with Kogi United commended his players for their second half performance noted that United would give the last game more attention and determination to achieve the club’s target for the season.
“I’m happy with the victory today, I’m with the way we played in the second half and I thank God for reaching this level with the team, we are not there fully but we will continue to work on our games and performance so that we can finish well on the table,” he said.
His counterpart from Jets, Coach Aminu congratulated Kogi United for the victory adding that his sit back tactics almost earned him a point but credited the hosts for their near perfect performance.
“I must congratulate United for their victory today, they deserve it and I hope it will be enough to get them the promotion ticket.
“I know they are a good side who can keep the ball so I went for full defensive style, I didn’t regret it because it almost gave us a point but they (Kogi United) are good side that make it difficult for us to settle,” Coach Aminu told newsmen after the game.
Kogi United have now garnered 31 points from 15 matches.
The Confluence State club will wrap us their incredible season with an away trip to Aklosendi FC in Lafia next weekend.