Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Bamidele Aiyenugba was at his very best this evening at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, as homers Bendel Insurance forced Kwara United Football Club to a one-all draw in the Matchday 13 of the 2022/2023 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL).
After painfully losing at home in Akure to Shooting Stars Sports Club by a lone goal in the Matchday 12, Kwara United rose to the ocassion today against the team that defeated them in the first leg in Ibadan, matching them grit for grit.
The two teams created numerous chances in the first half but couldn’t convert any, as Bamidele Aiyenugba put up a scintillating performance to deny the league leaders getting a goal.
The second half resumed with much determination from Bendel Insurance, drawing inspiration from the presence of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s at the stands, pushing Kwara United to the defence.
Kwara United handler Coach Kabir Sulaiman Dogo brought in Owolabi Aremu in place of Musa Abdulafeez in the 59th minute, and seven minutes later, the team scored from a free-kick taken by Mohammed Alao.
Troublesome Samad Kadri had been fouled in front of Bendel Insurance box, and Alao drove the ball between the wall to get the goal.
The home team responded in the 77th minute, through Deputy Echeta, who deflected a low cross into the net after a corner was half cleared by Kwara United defence.
The goal had gingered Bendel Insurance to come out fully in search of the winning goal, but Coach Dogo wouldn’t be caught unawares, as he made two quick changes.
Salihu Adamu and Abubakar Garba were brought in to replace Anthony Omaka and Paul Samson respectively in the 79th minute, but that did a little in warding off the constant menacing moves by Bendel Insurance, who found it difficult beating Aiyenugba for the second time.
Ayobami Junior was also brought in to replace goal scorer Mohammed Alao, in the 88th minute.
The away point looks absolutely vital, considering the current position of the team on the table. Kwara United now has 13 points from the same number of matches, ahead of the match against Enyimba International next weekend.
After the encounter, Coach Dogo commended his boys for the feat achieved, even as he expressed disappointment at not winning the match, saying that the home team was lucky to have gotten the equalizer.