Lukeman Aliu came off the bench to salvage a point for FC IfeanyiUbah at MFM FC in a matchday 19 match at Agege Stadium in Lagos.
MFM right-back Justice Zachariah had given the home side the lead in the 36th minute when he encountered a pass from Akanni Elijah that split the defense. Ali, who replaced the injured Nonso Nzediegwu in the first half, regained parity four minutes after the hour by pouncing on a spilled effort by goalkeeper Adeniyi Bamidele.
The game started with little intensity since the opportunities were few and far between. However, both coaches made changes early in the first half and the participants were instrumental in the outcome of the match. Nzediegwu suffered a head injury early on and was replaced by Aliu in the 19th minute, while MFM head coach Olalekan Gabriel made a tactical change that saw Elijah come in for Mumuni Amoo in the 33rd minute.
It took Elijah just three minutes to set up overlapping Zachariah and the right-back received the pass with a side foot for the first time as he beat Sharp Uzoigwe for the opening goal of the game.
This turned out to be the last significant act of the game until Zachariah came close to scoring a double at the hour mark. The MFM right-back advanced into the area before hitting a low puck that was cleverly saved by Uzoigwe. The goalkeeper’s brilliant save was not replicated by his rival in the MFM goal four minutes later and the visitors took advantage of it duly.
Bamidele unloaded the powerful shot of Ekene Awazie and Aliu, a former MFM trainee who grew up in Agege, pounced on the loose ball to draw the level of the Anambra Warriors.
The Olukoya Boys pushed for a winning goal and thought they did it when defender Kelechi Ogor finished off a deflected shot from Ramon Akanni, but the assistant referee correctly raised his flag for offside.
Both teams shared the spoils as the MFM stumble home for the fifth time this season, while the visitors remain winless in seven straight league games.
Coach Olalekan couldn’t hide his disappointment with the team’s performance, “I am very disappointed with the result and the performance of my players. The team played without instruction and I will make changes after this performance, ”he told www.npfl.ng.
On the opposite side, FC IfeanyiUbah head coach Uche Okagbue, unsurprisingly, had a different opinion of the game: “I’m happy. It was a good result. At least one point is better than none. We were playing very well, but the results did not come, but we hope that this performance marks the beginning of something great, “he said.