Plateau United got off to a winning start at the 2019 Ahlan Cup preseason tournament on Sunday as they beat Kano Pillars 1-0 at the Sani Abacha stadium.
Bernard Ovoke's penalty kick in the 77th minute was enough to hand maximum points to the Peace Boys in the keenly contested fixture.
It was Pillars who got out off the blocks with the first chance of the game in the third minute but the well-taken shot by captain Rabiu Ali was saved by Plateau United goalkeeper, Chinedu Anozie
The Peace Boys after settling into the game also threatened the Pillars’ defence and they had a decent chance in the 14th-minute, but Michael Ibe’s effort was taken care by Joshua Enaholo in goal for Sai Masu Gida.
Pillars. after surviving that scare, began to dominate the proceedings but they failed to convert the chances they had.
At the other end, Ibe also continued to lead Plateau United’s quest for a goal and even though one of his numerous efforts rattled the crossbar, the first half ended goalless.
In the second half, both teams matched each other until the 76th minute when Ibrahim Babawo went down under a rash challenge by Chris Madaki.
The referee pointed to the penalty spot and gave the Pillars defender the marching orders.
It was Ovoke who stepped up for the resultant kick and he did well to fire into the net to give Plateau United the lead.
Despite the immense pressure they were subjected to afterwards, the 2017/18 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions held on to their slim lead to register a winning start in the preseason tournament.
The 2019 Ahlan Cup has 18 teams participating, half of which are NPFL clubs.
The NPFL teams on parade include Katsina United, Kano Pillars, Wikki Tourists Lobi Stars, and Plateau United
Two-time African champions Enyimba, as well as Abia Warriors, Nasarawa United and Jigawa Golden Stars, are also competing at the preseason tournament.