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NPFL Review: Mutawakilu's heroic goalkeeping leaves Wikki frustrated

Published on: 07 August 2017

Rangers International goalkeeper Seidu Mutawakilu produced superb saves to ensure the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) defending champions picked a point in Bauchi against Wikki Tourists in a Matchday 33 on Sunday.

Wikki Tourists dominated the game from beginning to finish, however they failed to transform that into goals to the frustration of the home fans who were anxiously hoping their team avoid relegation.

Rangers winger Bright Silas put the visitors in front in the 15th minute after his deflected shot beat Wikki goalkeeper Emeka Nwabulu.

Rangy forward Chinedu Onyelonu levelled for Wikki in the 31st minute. And all efforts by the home team to maintain their 100 per cent home record since Bala Nikyu took over helms of affairs were thwarted by the heroic goalkeeping of Mutawakilu.

Immediately Wikki Tourists got the match underway, they almost took the lead after 40 seconds when a build-up ended with Idris Guda failing to convert.

Seven minutes later at the other end Nwabulu made a save as he parried out Silas' attempt.

Silas however made amends in the 15th minute from a free kick which dropped at the edge of the box, the winger fired a shot that took a deflection after it hit the leg of Ahmed Mohammed and easily beat Nwabulu.

Wikki should have equalized four minutes later but were denied when Mutawakilu jumped high to parry Ahmed Mohammed's effort.

However the home side levelled in the 31st minute when their pressure resulted in a corner and from the corner a goalmouth scramble ensured Onyelonu's deflected brought the score to 1-1.

The first half ended in dramatic fashion.

The second half however resumed after over an hour when security operatives assured the game can continue after a dramatic situation at the death of the first half.

The second half which was played mostly under floodlight produced no goal but was filled with action. Rangers defended for most of the half.

In the 50th minute, Wikki midfielder Idris Guda had the chance to give his side the lead but shot straight at Mutawakilu. The away team's goalkeeper was in action seven minutes later when he made a double save to deny Abubakar Lawal and Onyelonu.

Despite Nikyu making a double substitution on 66 minutes introducing Chidiebere Ajoku and Shammah Tanze for Richard Jonathan and Abubakar Lawal respectively, it was Mutawakilu who continued to shine as he made another important save in the 86th minute to deny Ahmed Mohammmed as the game petered out to a share of the spoils.

The result means Wikki drop to 13th position from 11th with 44 points while Rangers are in 15th place on the log with 43 points.

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