Unicem Rovers scored late in stoppage time to hand C.O.D United a first league defeat of the season.
The stakes were high going into the game with the White Lions vying for top spot in our Nigeria National League (NNL) group standings but there was little to separate both sides until Etenfa Ekuta scored a simple tap-in in the 34th minute to put the Calabar based side ahead at the end of the first half.
We came back strongly early in the second half with the equaliser through Daniel Chukwuebuka but a goal in the dying minutes of the second half by Unicem Rovers was a bitter pill to swallow for the White Lions.
C.O.D United Manager, Okey Emordi opted to make six changes to the team which started the league opener against Abia Comets last Sunday as Nwoye Anthony, Adewuyi Abiodun, Uche Ndukwe all dropped to the substitutes’ bench while the others did not travel for the game.
Indeed, both teams were pressing high up the pitch and a scrappy affair played out over the course of the opening 20 minutes; neither side was given an inch in the early exchanges. We had the first chance of the game when Daniel tried to burst his way past two defenders as the ball was put out for a corner. However, we failed to threaten the goal keeper with the resulting kick. Unicem had the clearer of chances of both sides and they finally had their noses in front through Etefa. A slipped pass from midfield sent Inyang through on goal and the attacker unselfishly teed up his teammate to tap into an empty net.
The White Lions knew a big 45 minutes was awaiting them but we were equal to the task as we got the equaliser early in the second half through Daniel. An ambitious lob from midfield into box caused a scramble and Daniel was the quickest to react as he bundled home the equaliser. However, he wasn’t going to last long as he was replaced by Ndukwe having picked up an injury. Unicem knew they needed to win having lost their first match hence; they continued to heap on the pressure on our defence. They came close to scoring through Effiom but his effort from six yards was excellently saved by Onuoha. We had chances to kill the game on the break but we didn’t appear composed enough in the final third of the opponent.
Our defense managed to repel every string of attack from Unicem Rovers as we looked to hang on to a crucial away point. Unfortunately, Unicem Rovers scored in the death of stoppage time through a scrambled-in corner to leave the White Lions broken hearted.
Emordi’s men will be looking to bounce back from this temporal slump when they take on Delta Force in their next league fixture on the 11th of June,
Unicem Rovers Starting XI: Franklin Akwari, Antia Joseph, Etete Okon, Ibe Chinedu, Abang Patrick, Okon Jerry, Effiom Maxwell, Richard Johnson, Etenfa Ekuta, Thomas Agustine, Inyang Asuquo.
Subs: Egbe Stephen, Ene Sylvester, Adeoye Ibrahim, Umoinyang Nsisong, Gber Clifford, Uche Isaiah, James kugen.
C.O.D United Starting XI: Onuoha Joseph, Bankole Afeez, Adiukwu Frank, Ezeali Chinedu, Joseph Kenneth, Williams Jide, Habib Husseini, Evbuomwan Stone, Okorie Chukwuebuka, Anthony Chukwudi, Adu Oluwasoji.
Subs: Oladipo Kolawole, Adewuyi Abiodun, Musa Musa, Nwoye Anthony, Ivonye Neche, Okorie Torty, Ndukwe Uche.