Salisu Saidu saved Nigeria Professional Football League champions, Plateau United from suffering their first home defeat in this year’s campaign as he held his nerves to convert a last gasp penalty awarded his side by the centre referee, Sani Mohammed in the last second of the five- minute second half injury time.
The arbiter from the Kaduna Referees Council who had earlier awarded the home side another controversial spot kick, surprised Abia Warriors bench again when he pointed to the spot as Warriors goalkeeper, Uche Okafor harmlessly picked the ball inside his territory and the referee adjudged him to have collided with a rampaging United attacker.
Salisu, who had remained excellent all day, stepped forward to send Okafor the wrong way to make it 2-2 at the new Jos Stadium.
Salisu had earlier struck a perfect free- kick that could contest for the goal of the season in the 49th minute to give the home side the lead.
But defender and Jos City brought up, Chinedu Efugh delighted his numerous fans as he equalised for the visitors with his first ever league goal in Abia Warriors colours nodding in a Shedrack Asiegbu free-kick in the 68th minute.
Two minutes later, substitute, Obi Samson made it 2-1 for Abia Warriors as he menacingly followed up a Plateau United defender’s miss kicked ball to the goal mouth and tapped in his ninth league goal of the season with the home side goalkeeper, John Shuaibu nowhere to be found.
Three minutes later, Shuaibu, who once manned the post for Abia Warriors gifted Warriors midfielder, Jimoh Oni the opportunity to make it 3-1 as he shot the ball tamely to him but the erstwhile fc Ifeanyi Ubah playmaker failed to capitalise.
The Warriors were still cruising to what would have been their second away win of the season when the referee awarded the first of the two penalties to the home side in the 87th minute. But Warriors goaltender, Uche Okafor became the hero as he caught Reuben Bala’s spot kick to the chagrin of United bench led by former Abia Warriors manager, Kennedy Boboye.
But Salisu saved his blushes as he converted the other debatable penalty at the death to make it 2-2.
In his reaction, Abia Warriors Head Coach, Emmanuel Deutcsh lamented the two penalties awarded against his side which he said denied his team of a famous victory and called on the organisers of the league to monitor closely, the performance of the referees to ensure that only the best teams qualified to represent Nigeria in continental competitions.
Abia Warriors remain the best in-form team in the NPFL with only one loss in their last 14 matches and will be going to the World Cup break on high.