3SC edge Enyimba 1-0

by Solace Chukwu on Wed 23 August, 2017

Enyimba had no answer as Shooting Stars raced out of the blocks in Ibadan to record a 1-0 victory on Matchday 31 of the NPFL.

Shooting Stars came into the game with the spectre of relegation looming over them, but looked good value for their result, and never looked in danger of dropping points once Abayomi Adebayo fired them into the lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Coach Gbenga Ogunbote made five changes to the team that came from behind to beat Lobi Stars in midweek, most notably with defender Samson Gbadebo returning to the starting lineup for the first time since the loss to Nassarawa United five weeks ago.

The hosts were immediately on the offensive from the kick-off, and former Enyimba striker Abu Azeez could have opened the scoring in the 5th minute, slicing his shot wide having been played through on goal. Another sight of goal barely a minute later brought a fine low save from Fatau Dauda.

The Ghana international goalkeeper was however powerless to stop the opener in the 8th minute, a daisycutter into the bottom corner after midfielder Solomon Okpako had been caught in possession.

The goal was the perfect wake-up call for the seven-time league champions, as they went in search of a quick leveller. Much of the shooting was from distance and wayward, and the Shooting defence held firm to block those that were on target.

Having weathered that flurry, the hosts once again seized control of the game. Ibrahim Ajani came close after the ball pinged about in the Enyimba box, but flicked his shot over the top form inside the six-yard box in the 35th minute. Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, the hero in midweek, came close to repeating his heroics, but saw his free kick well saved by Adamu Abubakar.

Fatai Amoo's side would however finish the half the strongest, calling Dauda into action twice: first from distance, and then from a through ball which required the experienced shot-stopper to race out of his area to intercept ahead of Ajani.

The second half began in similarly frenzied fashion to the first, with Shooting Stars threatening to double their tally. Dare Ojo had to be alert to clear an Azeez shot off the line, while Dauda extended a strong hand to parry a low effort from Jimoh Wasiu inside the box.

Ibrahim Mustapha led the resistance, producing a number of strong runs down the left, but was saw one effort deflect and loop up into the arms of Adamu, while his flick-on to Leonard was also intercepted by the 3SC goalkeeper. It was however the Oluyole Warriors who could have made the scoreline more comfortable, as Azeez turned and played Ajani through on goal with 10 minutes to go. The forward however miscued his effort wide, with only Dauda to beat.

The hosts were worthy winners in the end, strengthening their bid to avoid relegation at the expense of Enyimba, who remain in fourth place, two points behind MFM FC, who play on Monday.

Shooting Stars (Abayomi Adebayo 8') 1-0 Enyimba

Enyimba Starting XI: Fatau Dauda, Dare Ojo, Samson Gbadebo, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Ikouwem Udoh, Solomon Okpako (Lordson Ichull 54'), Olufemi Oladapo (Stanley Dimgba 50'), Ikechukwu Ibenegbu (Stephen Chukwude 82'), Mfon Udoh, Ugochukwu Leonard, Ibrahim Mustapha

Substitutes not used: Njoku Izundu, Chima Akas, Goodluck Onamado, Maxwell Effiom

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