By Oladapo Okeowo
The Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) took off on a controversial note as the opening game of the season was stopped. This did not deter MFM FC as they saw off a spirited second half display by Niger Tornadoes to win the game 3-0.
Quickfire goals by Olatunbosun Sikiru, birthday boy Stephen Odey and Okorom Stanley granted the home team the victory.
The scoreline is a reflection of a wonderful and professionally executed first half by the home team.
The game started off as a scrappy affair as both sides attempted to choke the available spaces and not allow the other play. With constant turnover of play, it looked like a long and boring game was at hand.
Things started looking up 18 minutes into the game when MFM FC were given a freekick at the edge of the box. A chance that Bashiru Monsuru fired wide to the right of the post.
With the bit in their teeth, MFM FC went in search of the goal as Niger Tornadoes lacked cohesion and were loose at the back. The persistence paid off when Sikiru lashed on to a loose ball in the box after a cross from the right was not properly dealt with.
The second goal was not long in waiting as Odey tucked in from close range and then the third goal through a defence-splitting through pass that left the Tornadoes goalkeeper facing two MFM FC players. This time around, Sikiru turned provider as he rolled the ball to Okorom who slotted into an empty net.
With the third goal, Niger Tornadoes finally turned up. a quick attack and dribble led to a freekick that was tipped over the bar by the largely unbothered MFM goalie, Folarin.
The referee drew the first half to a close after giving just a minute for stoppages.
The 2nd half started in earnest and Niger Tornadoes were in the ascendancy. With a 3-goal lead, the home team elected to stay back, soak the pressure and try to hit their opponents on a counter. This allowed the Niger Tornadoes players more of the ball and they tried to take advantage of this but the upright, bar and excellent reflexes of Folarin all contrived to deny them even a consolation goal.
The game ended 3-0 much as the Tornadoes tried.
The result takes MFM FC to the top of the table after the first round of matches.
After the game, the Niger Tornadoes coach expressed his disappointment in the game especially the first half display of his players.
The league resumes on the 18th of January with MFM away to Ifeanyi Ubah while Niger Tornadoes host ABS FC.