Wednesday, 24 March 2021

NNL2021: Rovers FC subdue Osun United to secure first away win

By Kelvin Obambon

Rovers Football Club, Calabar have overpowered Osun United to secure three point in their first away win since the commencement of the 2020/2021 Nigeria National League season.

The match day 8 victory at the Ilorin Township Stadium, Kwara State, on Wednesday 24th March, 2021, could rightly be described as a pyrrhic one, because both teams put up a dogged fight.

The first 5 minutes of play had the homers and visitors testing their might at the centre of the field; then in the15th minute Rovers got the first corner kick and it was cleared by United's backline. The host also got a free kick sent over the bar by Jabar Anifowose.

Rovers goal would have come in the 21st minute, but Jerry Okon blocked the ball Daniel Ilevbare had connected from the flank. Egged by the missed chance, Ilevbare again intercepted an incomplete pass laid by United's Azeez in the 24th minute, but Olusola Akilapa's slide dislodged the ball before the 'Caanan Boys' striker could find balance to launch forth.

Both sides were reduced to 10 men in the 32nd minute after Odafi Emmanuel and Ajagbe Azeez made a fatal collision that sent them to the medics. While Odafi returned with bandage after two minutes of care, Ajagbe's injury ruled him out of the game and Yomi Olaoke was brought in his stead.

38 minutes into the first half, Coach Samson Unuanel injected a fresh blood to bolster Rovers' central midfield by bringing in Daniel Josiah for Akpor Simon.

The impact of the substitution was soon felt in the 44th minute when Daniel Ilevbare's header outpaced Akilapa Olusola, only to end in the gloves of Arinze Okoro - another close call for the away team.

Osun United made a good attempt in the 45th minute from a free kick taken by Akilapa, which was pushed to the corner by Rovers' Isah Ismaila.

Rovers came smoking and hot in the early minutes of the second half, creating two chances, but were constantly kept under check by United's attacking and defensive arsenals.

Just when both teams were about settling for a tie, Ilevbare, who had been menacing United's backline, finally solved the goal puzzle in the 87th minute, by dribbling his way into the penalty area and strike the ball into the net.

Rovers FC has now garnered 11 points from 7 matches played so far. The team has one outstanding match against Ekiti United. Except a date is fixed for the outstanding game, Rovers next encounter will be against Giant Brillars FC on Saturday March 27 at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar.