Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia lost by a lone goal to Kwara United in Ilorin the capital city of Kwara State.
It was a game that made headlines for off the field incidents involving the away side.
The Pride of Abia were involved in a motor accident on their way to Ilorin. The Sienna Van conveying the Technical Crew was hit by a heavy truck at a police check point when it made a stop for a police check. Thankfully, the impact was not enough to cause serious injury to the occupants. Prior to that, the team had some logistics problems on the way and could only arrive Ilorin on Sunday morning just a few hours before kick off leaving the entire team exhausted, a situation that took its toll on the players.
Coach Erasmus Onuh made three changes from the team that started in their last home game with Nonso Nzediegwu, Prince Okorie and Chidera Olisaegbo making their first start of the season ahead of Dehinde Ibrahim, Daniel Wotlai and Emmanuel Onu.
The first half was dominated by the home side as Abia Warriors looked heavy and clearly fatigued which probably contributed to the injury sustained by Uche Moses who was replaced by Adejoh Ojonugwa.
The Warriors had their goalkeeper Johnson Nmecha to thank, for denying Kwara United’s Samuel Ayorinde twice from a one-on-one situation.
But there was nothing the Abia Warriors’ keeper could do at the dot of 45 minutes when his defenders failed to deal with Balogun Kabir’s cross as the ball fell kindly for Isaiah Ejeh to score from inside the vital area.
A double substitution for the Warriors saw Jimoh Gbadamosi and Dehinde Ibrahim come on for Nonso Nzediegwu and Jerry Ogu. It was followed by the introduction of Samson Obi and Daniel Wotlai for Collins Nwoburuoke and Chidera Olisaegbo. The changes had an instant impact for the Warriors as they dominated play and took the game to their hosts; it was the home sides turn to absorb pressure and they were restricted to occasional counter attacks. It was better from the Warriors and they were unlucky not to be level when Dehinde Ibrahim’s 30 yards freekick came off the cross bar to the relief of the home side.
The hosts held on to their one goal advantage till the final whistle.
Up next for Abia Warriors is a clash against former Nigerian champions Kano Pillars at the Umuahia Township Stadium.