-A well struck free kick from Daniel Frimpong ensured Kogi United commenced their 2017/2018 Bet9ja Nigeria National League, season on a brighter note with a 1-0 victory over the newly promoted side, Aklosendi FC from Lafia.
The Matchday one encounter decided at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja on Saturday saw United took the lead inside eight minutes into the game.
Idris Muye was upended at the edge of Aklosendi’s box to win a free kick for the hosts and the Ghanaian winger calmly bend the set piece behind Aklosendi’s goalkeeper, Jason Humphrey who couldn’t attempt to stop it.
United was the dominant side in the first half as the newcomers appeared to used the moment to study their present status, and were lucky to not concede more before the end of halftime as Kogi United missed numerous scoring chances.
John Jerome could have given United the lead in the fifth minutes but arrived late to tap in from Abubakar Danlami’s cross.
The goal arrived soon after with a well planned free kick. Eghe Osas, Adewumi Femi and Frimpong executed how to take it but it was the latter who accepted to go for it and didn’t disappoint as the goal was what gave United the full match points.
Aklosendi would then burst forward moments after the goal to initiate an attack but met a brick wall in United’s organized defense.
Austin Bentu could have double the lead for the hosts as the game reach the half an hour mark but his shot aimed at goal was blocked by Aklosendi defender, Savior Chukwu.
Bentu was unlucky again in the 35th minute as he was denied by a glimpse of deflection when he almost headed in Femi’s cross to the far corner.
Aklosendi did more of defending till the end of first half denying their hosts more chances to increase the tally.
The resumption of the game witnessed an improved performance from both sides and Frimpong could have got his brace with two minutes into the second half but flashed wide an effort from the edge of the box.
Injured Bentu was replaced by Anthony Jegede and the young lad added more bites to United’s attack, except for the goal.
Femi thought he had scored United’s second goal when his strike from another free-kick beat the keeper but agonizingly hit the upright and Jegede could not pounce on the rebound.
Aklosendi gained a bit of confidence in the latter stage of the game and came out with all they’ve got. Usman Adam- arguably their best player on the day- initiated some attacks with his sharp runs and moves but couldn’t get much support up front to push for an equalizer.
Jegede had what looked like United’s last chance of the game after beaten his marker but his pop at goal was well gathered by Aklosendi’s Humphrey.
Assistant Coach of Kogi United, Musa Abubakar who deputized for his boss, Tunde Abdulrahman for post-match briefing expressed satisfaction with his side’s performance adding that the victory would boost his players’ believe and morale going into the next fixtures.
“We are excited about this result, the points are what matters most at this stage which we’ve got, everybody would expect us to score two or more goals but it’s difficult to play against a fresh and youthful side like this.
“This is just the first game and I’m sure we will improve as the games go on,” he said.
Head Coach of Aklosendi, Stephen Moga said he’s satisfied with his side’s debut performance in the league adding that it will give them believe to take on their subsequent opponents.
Kogi United will next face Mighty Jets in Jos while Aklosendi will draw the bye for next fixtures.