Yinka Onaolapo delivered Nasarawa United’s match winner over Niger Tornadoes in Sunday’s Northern Derby in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matchday 32 encounter played at the Lafia City Stadium.
Onaolapo’s 21st minute goal was enough for the Solid Miners to edge their regional rivals 1-0 in the tense derby game. Onaolapo’s powerful drive from the edge of the box beat Niger Tornadoes goalkeeper Edwin Nwakamma for the winning goal.
The hosts dominated the first half and could have added more goals but the trio of Thomas Zenke, Buhari Jafar and Bashiru Abdulrahman were not clinical enough in the final third.
The visitors came into the second half as the better side and dominated, they were all over the hosts and could have earned a point with their second half performance but lacked the cutting edge to break through in the attack.
Niger Tornadoes manager Abubakar Bala introduced llyasu Isyaku and the young lad Bashar Usman. Usman was part of the NPFL U17 All-Star training earlier this year. The introduction of the duo helped the visitors dominate and they came close to equalizing on several occasions. Usman missed a sitter late in the game for the visitors.
Nasarawa United manager Kabiru Dogo said he wasn’t satisfied with his boys performance.
“Honestly, we wanted the three points and more goals. It was a derby game and we prepared for a big game. I wasn’t surprised Tornadoes gave us a big fight but I’m not happy with my boys performance. We could have scored more in the first half, they (Tornadoes) gave us a difficult second half and we were lucky to earn the the full points,” said Dogo to Naijafootballplus.com after his team’s victory.
Niger Tornadoes head coach Abubakar Bala told Naijafootballplus.com that his team paid for been wasteful in the game.
“I think we deserved to pick at least a point from the game, I’m not happy we lost a game we dominated the second half. We respected them (Nasarawa Utd) much in the first half, but we restored our confidence in the second half and we could have earned at least a draw from the game. We have to stay focus and stay carefully, the log is tricky and the points gap are not much. We must play ourselves out of the danger zone,” Bala said.
Onaolapo was excited he scored his third goal of the season which helped his team conquer their rival.
“I’m happy I scored my third goal of the season, I think I should be among the most scoring defender in the league. It was a difficult game, we worked hard over the week and we knew it won’t be easy. I’m excited we won and my goal was important for my team. We can now take it from here and finish the season with our target,” he said to Naijafootballplus.com.
The victory moved Nasarawa United three places up to sixth position with 47 points from 32 matches, four points behind continental position. Niger Tornadoes dropped one spot down to ninth position with 45 points from the same number of matches.