Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Ilorin FC opened their 2018/2019 abridged Nigeria National League (NNL) with a 2-0 win over visiting Sokoto United.
The match was played at the Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin on Thursday.
Alao Danbani would have put the hosts ahead the 4th minute when Shola Abdulraheem found him the Sokoto United’s box but the visitors defended well to deny him.
Abdulraheem put the Saraki Boys ahead in the 12th minute, when he dribbled through the defence of the visitors before stretching Ikechukwu Obilo to his far right for the first goal.
Sokoto United’s defenders responded very well in the 23rd minute to deny the threat posed by Danbani and Ebuka Anaekwe, they had combined in front of goal before their moves was punctuated.
Sokoto United’s Patrick Uche was close to leveling the scores in the 28th minute but his effort hit the side netting after disposing ABS FC’s Godwin Abah off the ball.
Abdulraheem in the 33rd minute of play found Mohammed Ibrahim but the winger’s effort was inches away from goal.
Danbani was brought down in the penalty ark in the 39th minute and the centre referee pointed straight to the spot.
The striker (Danbani) made no mistake in converting from the spot even though Sokoto United’s goalkeeper, Obilo got his angle right in the 42nd minute.
Anaekwe shot from outside the box almost make it 3-0 for ABS but his effort went wide in the 48th minute.
The visitors responded well to half time team talk and were dangerous moving forward whilst they pinned their hosts to their half.
Reacting to the match, the coach of Sokoto United, Aminu Happy, said his preparations was bad because he didn’t play some turn up games to get his boys sharp for the match.
“My boys still play to expectations, we still have some away matches that we can do well and I’m sure I will win my homes games” Happy said.
His ABS counterparts, Abubakar Hassan, said his boys impressed him but there is still various areas of concern that needs to be addressed.
He said his boys did not respond physically and tactically but boasted that many of the concerns that arises from the match would be addressed before his team’s away game to Giodano FC of Kano.
Hassan said his aspiration is to promote ABS to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) next season and such dream is still on.
The former Golden Eaglets coach said he would like to work on his defence and attack while preparing for the next match.
ABS will now travel to Kano for match day 2 on Sat. April 20 to play against Giodano FC.