- Published on Saturday, 09 September 2017 23:59
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By Ademola Olajire
Ibrahim Babawo and Ebenezer Odeyemi starred as Niger Tornadoes played with heart and spirit and got due reward with a 2-0 win over Shooting Stars of Ibadan, who were mired in relegation waters and were expected to put up a better fight for the points at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja.
Before the match, the management and players of the Oluyole Warriors had promised a ‘fight-to’finish’ in their final game of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season in Lokoja. But the team’s output on the day was rather abject and it would have been a travesty if they had taken a point out of the encounter.
Tornadoes started the game like the purposeful side they were, putting the ball on the ground and running at the visitors’ defence with elan and vivacity. Babawo, Bolaji Adeyemo, Odeyemi and Abdullahi Wakili were rampant, and it was no surprise when Babawo, alert to a pull-out from the right by Wilfred Angel Ammeh while Shooting Stars rearguard stood flat–footed, headed past a diving Charles Tambe for the first goal.
Even at that, there was nothing from the Oluyole Warriors to signify reaction or ambition. They simply kicked the ball listlessly all over the pack and lone striker Abu Azeez was hopelessly isolated upfront.
A couple of long throws by defender Suraj Sodiq was the only way Shooting Stars got into the home team’s box, and even then, there was no purposeful connection. Instead, Bolaji Adeyemo rocked Charles Tambe’s crossbar with a powerful left foot midway into the first half, and Tornadoes’ general endeavour deserved a second goal that did not come before half time.
In the second half, the visitors tried to show some ambition, but they failed to match it with good ball possession, and Tornadoes soon took over again dictating the pace and flow and generally streaming into Shooting Stars’ box at will. Tambe, and some valiant defending by Seun Akinyemi and Sodiq, kept the scoreline the same until the hour.
Substitute Peter Momoh had already sliced a shot wide from an excellent team move, before Adeyemo, Babawo and Andrew Ikefe took matters by the scruff. They pierced the opposition defence again, but this time, Ebenezer Odeyemi made no mistake slotting past Tambe for the second goal.
Shooting Stars coach Fatai Amoo immediately made three changes, bringing in team top scorer Sunday Faleye, Adebayo Ibrahim and Merenini Junior. But the changes were of no effect. The home team continued to dominate and was unlucky not to get a third before the final whistle.
Niger Tornadoes 2-0 Shooting Stars
Shots on target: 5-1
Shots off target: 4-1
Free kicks: 26-10
Corner kicks: 2-0
Yellow Cards: (Suraj Sodiq 26’, Taiwo Shittu 53’, Sunday Faleye 75’ (Shooting Stars)
Man Of The Match: (Sunday Akinmoladun, Niger Tornadoes)
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