Abia Comets scored as early as the 3rd minute and one more midway through the first half to hand C.O.D United a 2-0 defeat on a mucky pitch, away at the Umuahia Township Stadium. The White Lions who had earlier in the season defeated Abia Comets by 3-1 at home were looking to make it a double but were allowed no time in settling as the opponent scored with their first attempt on goal.
A controversially awarded goal in the 22nd minute gave us a mountain to climb but we fought hard without finding a way past the Comets keeper, with the defeat leaving us in an arduous situation for survival.
Coach Kazeem Alabi retained almost the same line-up that began the last match against Akwa Starlets with Chinedu Enuademu dropped to the bench and Soji Adu restored back after a week on the side-lines. Newly signed midfielder, Oladimeji Obafemi also made the team from the bench.
Abia Comets came off the blocks as from the blast of the whistle and before we could adapt to the muddy pitch, they got the opener. A long throw into our box was not well dealt with and it broke for their striker just in front of the six-yard area and he made no mistake in rifling one into the top corner.
We immediately tried to respond with the equaliser but Omoyele was just offside as he tried to guide in a header from Adikwu’s cross into the box. Abia Comets again threatened to score twice in quick succession but were met by some organised defending; Joseph with an excellent block and Emenike with a simple save from a free-kick.
The offside flag was also at the end of some neat build-up by the White Lions. However, Comets were gifted a second goal midway into the first half. A corner was headed onto the crossbar and out but their striker turned the rebound in with his hands.
Coach Alabi took no time in rolling out the dice, introducing Theopilus Atagana for Damian as he sought to add more quality to the attack. We continued to press up the pitch but without being able to test the keeper. Comets tried to add to the tally with half chances but with no success. Meanwhile, Ogunsuyi almost pulled one back for us on the stroke of halftime with a volleyed attempt but a last-ditch tackle by the Comets defender snuffed out the chance. The White Lions knew a huge 45 minutes awaited them and hence, had to give it a fight with an early goal in mind. Good exchange of passes between Ogunsuyi and Omaka but the latter could not wrap his foot well enough to the ball as his shot sailed over. We came closer to scoring through Ezeali who could only watch as his pile driver from 25 yards out went inches over the bar. Similarly, Omoyele was also denied just from 6 yards by a desperate last-ditch block at the expense of a corner.
We continued to throw everything at them, creating chances in behind and this time a side-footed shot by Omaka just in front of the box drifted narrowly wide. Enuademu was thrown into the game by coach Alabi and the winger almost made an instant impact as he latched on to a sumptuous pass from Omeyele while letting out a rasping effort which the keeper saved on second attempt. A low grounder in the dying minutes of the match by new entrant, Obafemi was blocked by the firm defence of Comets summing up a frustrating evening for the White Lions who are back in action in the coming weekend at home to Unicem Rovers.
C.O.D United Starting XI: Paul Emenike, James Oronsaye, Obinna Adiukwu, Alaba Balogun, Kenneth Joseph, Kingsley Ezeali, Anthony Omaka, Nnamdi Damian, Soji Adu, Odunayo Oguunsuyi, Tosin Omoyele.
Subs: Kolawole Oladipupo, Uche Ndukwe, Anthny Nwoye, Oladimeji Obafemi, Theophilus Atagana, Enuademu Chinedu, Stone Evbuomwan.