MFM FC’s perfect home record this season came to a halt on Sunday after they played out a 0-0 draw with visiting Lobi Stars in a Matchday 10 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
The Olukoya Boys tried every trick in their book to break down a resistant and well-organized Lobi Stars but failed at every turn. All Fidelis Ilechukwu’s men could take with them at the end of the game was their larger share of possession.
The first half, for most part, was lacklustre as both teams could hardly string passes together. Lobi’s backline of Fasanya Olaniyi, Ebube Duru, Zango Umar and Ekene Oliseme was a delight as they kept MFM’s frontline led by Sikiru Olatunbosun and Waheed Adebayo at bay for large spells.
Lobi head coach Solomom Ogbeide deployed former MFM player Austine Ogunye as Lobi’s captain on the day. Ogunye also played as the arrow head of Lobi’s attack. The hardworking forward was a handful all evening as his former teammates struggled to cope with his pace.
Ogunye should have put the visitors ahead in the 25th minute. He got on the end of a flowing counterattack by the visitors after Samad Kadiri’s telling pass set him up, but Ogunye’s shot was blocked by MFM skipper Austin Opara who had an inspired game.
What could have been contender for goal of the season was attempted by Samad in the 30th minute. He received the ball in the centre circle and with a quick glance saw MFM goalkeeper Abayomi Folarin off his line. His audacious long range shot narrowly missed the post to the applause of spectators. It was a measure of the confidence of the attacker.
The best chance of the game fell to the visitors late in the first half. Samad set up Ezekiel Mbah inside MFM’s box and all the striker needed to do was pick his spot but he somehow miscued the shot and allowed Folarin to gather. Seconds later another opportunity presented itself in the box and with only the goalkeeper at his mercy Mbah aimed for the top corner and failed to hit the target.
On resumption in the second half, the home team upped the ante as Ilechukwu introduced Abayomi Lawal and the youngster almost scored in the 70th minute. Quick thinking from Olatunbosun to restart the game after a foul, his pass freed the pacy youngster on goal, good reflexes by Lobi goalkeeper Kayode Olufemi thwarted any opportunity of Lawal getting his first goal of the campaign.
MFM should have won it late in added time. A well taken free kick by Olatunbosun crashed against the cross bar when many thought the home team had finally found the breakthrough goal.
Ilechukwu believes the points dropped at home is significant but added that the team will continue to work hard.
“We are not happy with the draw but what can we do? We tried to get a win but it was not possible. We didn’t start well in the first half and our efforts in the second could not yield the desired result. We will continue to work hard in the league. Who says we cannot pick points on the road,” Ilechukwu said after the game.
Ogbeide praised his team and said they deserved to take a point off their opponents.
He further said he always wanted their poor run at the Agege Stadium to come to a halt the moment he took charge of the coaching crew.
“Lobi Stars have lost in the past two seasons in Agege and when I joined the team, I said this has to stop. My boys played very well in the game and deserves the point. We have lost several games by slim margin and I give my boys credit today for not conceding,” Ogbeide said.
MFM FC will next play Sunshine Stars in a rescheduled game on Wednesday.