FC Ifeanyiubah striker Uche Onuoha could not have asked for a better way to end his 12 months goal drought as his last gasp goal earned his side a priceless 1-0 win over a dogged MFM FC side in Nnewi.
The last five minutes of Sunday’s MatchDay 22 encounter between the two privately owned sides in Nigeria’s top flight will go down as the most eventful minutes in Uche Onuoha’s FC Ifeanyiubah career.
With his team looking for a Messiah, head coach Uche Okagbue sent in Onuoha in the 55th minute for Ekene Awazie and after thirty minutes of literally working his socks off, his last five minutes of the game (including stoppage time) created the three major talking points in the encounter.
Onuoha defied his height which is well below 6ft to rise highest in the box two minutes from time but his header to Jimoh Gbadamosi’s cross came off the cross bar. Two minutes later, he was booked for his attempt to con the referee into giving a penalty before scoring the winner three minutes into stoppage time and subsequently sent off.
“I thank God for the game, it was not easy. MFM are no pushovers but we tried our best and at the end of the day, we are grateful for emerging the winner. It wasn’t easy,” Onuoha told www.npfl.ng after the very difficult win.
A goal truly foretold?
Despite not known for being prolific in front of goal, Onuoha said after the match that he had boasted to his teammates at half time that he would score once he comes in.
As a matter of fact, his only goal in the colours of FC Ifeanyiubah came on February 6, 2019 in a 2-0 home win over Gombe United but somehow, he was confident of scoring against an obstinate MFM defence line.
Onuoha explains: “Already at the dressing room, I told my teammates that I would score a consolation goal and they tried to correct me that it is consolidation goal.
“So we were like laughing but I told them I would score. Then when I was coming in, I still hoped that there was still time to make it and it happened.”
A goal out of nothing
To say that Onuoha’s goal came out of nothing is like understating it.
A few section of a frustrated home crowd had already been making their ways to the exit doors when Onuoha made it happen.
The striker latched onto a hopeless flick to Tochukwu Anuenyiagu’s long ball before forcing his way past MFM defender Adeyinka Najeem and scoring from an acute angle.
He describes the circumstance that led to the goal better.
“I will say that the defender was trying to avoid contact but I went fully while he was trying to avoid contact.
“When I got to the ball, then he jumped over. I was hoping to cross the ball but the goalkeeper wanted to cut it off and I saw the space where I put the ball.”
The goal threw the whole stadium into delirium including himself as he pulled his top, forgetting the consequence. The joy of the moment clearly superseded the pain of having to miss the next game.
“I didn’t even know when I pulled off my jersey because the goal was very surprising. I didn’t expect it at that particular time. At the end of the game, nobody was even talking about the red card, they were like; we love it that way,” added Onuoha.
Onuoha will miss FC Ifeanyiubah’s next game, away to Rivers United in Port Harcourt next weekend but for now, he can bask in the ecstasy of sending his team to the top half of the table.