2023/2024 NPFL: Shooting Stars, Bayelsa United, Rangers up to flying start
Posted : 30 September 2023
It was a good start of the five-time winners of Nigerian league, Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan as they earned a well-deserving 2-1 win over Northern rival, Plateau United FC.
The match played at the Lekan Salami Stadium had the spectators stand filled to the brim.
Oluyole Warriors opened the league season's goal in the 37th minutes of play when Ayodeji Bamidele capitalized on a defensive error and poor communication within the opposing team, as he managed to find the back of the net for the hosts, 3SC. The defensive lapse provided an opportunity that Bamidele astutely seized, showcasing his scoring prowess.
The visitors' communication breakdown proved costly, but they were able to regroup to push for an equalizer before the half time.
In the 42nd minute, just before halftime, Uche Owosanya stepped up to take a crucial free kick for Plateau United but was thwarted by Shooting Stars SC defence line. This was a significant opportunity for Plateau United to level the score before the break.
The match however ended one-nil, as the centre referee blew half time whistle.
Plateau United gained an early advantage with a quick throw-in, expertly executed by Daniel Itodo.
However, the 3SC defense remained composed and handled the situation calmly in the 46th minute.
The defensive prowess of 3SC was evident as they aimed to maintain their lead and deny Plateau United an opportunity to level the score.
Shooting Stars still at the driving seat with a lone goal had Plateau United come more purposefully to ensure the parity.
Plateau United relied heavily on Onovo, Uche, Kalu, and Saidu for an improved performance in the frontline, however they also needed to step up their offensive efforts.
Plateau United made strategic substitutions to stabilize the defense in the 62nd minute, as Daniel Onovo was replaced by Mustapha Abdullahi, while Saidu Salisu was substituted for Daniel Barnabas and Moses Adikwu came in for Chris Nwaeze.
Three minutes later in the 65th minute, Plateau United's defense line was once again breached, as 3SC took a shot but missed the target.
The visitors through Barnabas Daniel in the 66th minute, registered their first shot on target in the second half, but was a weak attempt and was saved.
The host playing in front of their boasterous fans however doubled the lead through new signing Anayo Ogbonna in the 76th minute.
3SC extended their lead with a goal from a cross on the left flank, headed in by Anayo as Plateau United's goalkeeper, Amah John could have done better in preventing the second goal.
Plateau United then reacted swiftly as Uche Unwosanya capitalized on a slip ball from Pam to reduce the tally to 2-1.
Getting to the end of the match, Plateau United's goalkeeper pulled off a remarkable double save, denying the opposition's attempt to widen their lead.
The keenly contested match concluded with 3SC emerging victorious, defeating Plateau United with a score of 2-1. Both teams showcased determination and skill, making it an exciting and competitive encounter.
In the other centre, in Yenagoa it was an harvest of goals as the match ended in an eight goal thriller.
Host, Bayelsa United came back from the dead thrice to beat Akwa United 5-3. Robert Mizo with the first hatrick of the season.
Full match report:
Shooting Stars SC 2-1 Plateau United FC
Bayelsa United 5-3 Akwa United
Katsina United 1-0 Kwara United
Abia Warriors 1-0 Niger Tornadoes
Heartland FC 2-2 Lobi Stars
Sunshine Stars 1-0 Kano Pillars
Rangers Int’l 2-1 Doma United