It was a battle of survival between Nasarawa United and Kano Pillars in one of the MatchDay 37 encounter of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) games as the season nears end.
Nasarawa desperation for survival was evident in the encounter at the adopted home in Jos with crisp display from the kickoff, dictating the pace from all fronts forcing Pillars defence to committing fouls and conceding no fewer than five corner kicks in the first thirty minutes of the game.
Though the first half was scoreless; it was the hosts that exhibited the hunger for victory with Pillars chasing the ball and waiting for the counter that rarely happened with occasional breakaway that left Nasarawa defence unperturbed.
Joshua Ogbole eventually decided the tide of the game in the 68th as he latched on a pull out from Chinedu Ohanachom who went deep into the flank to supply the cross for Ogbole to tap into the net for the lone goal.
It raised some mild controversy as Pillars players complained that the ball had gone out of play before it was lobbed for Ogbole to score; a complaint that earned keeper Joshua Enahobo a yellow card for confronting the Assistant Referee.
The decision of the referee to allow the goal was criticised by Salisu Yusuf, the Pillars handler who expressed dissatisfaction on the officials that handled the game.
“The officiating is a disappointment and the referees need to improve in handling of matches.”
“There can be improvements from match officials as against what we witnessed this evening and for us to improve in the standard of play; officiating has to improve” the Pillars handler protested.
However, it was jubilation for Bala Nikyu as his team escaped the drop with the victory over Pillars.
“Pillars came to play a spoiler role. We have to dig deep and remain focused in our determination to secure victory which eventually came our way”.
“Though it is a disappointing season, we still have our stars to thank for escaping relegation”, an elated Nasarawa coach stated after the game.
The victory ensured Nasarawa United with 50 points has maintained its position in the elite division.