Optima Energy Gold Cup: Ijebu United stuns 3SC on penalties
Posted : 18 August 2023
Debutants Ijebu United claimed the bragging rights against a 10-man Shooting Stars, whom they beat 4-3 on spot kicks to set up interesting clash with Beyond Limits in the final of the Optima Energy Gold Cup.
The Remo Stars International Stadium in Ikenne will host the grand finale of the 11th edition of the pre-season tournament on Saturday at 3 p.m.
It was a game of both halves for Shooting Stars and Ijebu United who replaced defending champions Remo Stars who pulled out, owing to this weekend's CAF Champions League preliminaries.
However, the Oluyole Warriors were their own on doing as they should have nailed Ijebu United by four goals in the first half but were wasteful with the begging chances that came their way.
3SC FC who had the chance of making a third consecutive Optima Energy Gold Cup final, took the lead from the penalty in the 27th minute after Ayobami Adekunle was awkwardly brought down just before pulling the trigger inside the six yard.
The referee made no mistake to point to the spot, leaving Adelowo Gbolagade with the duty to power 3SC FC infront for the first goal.
A minute later, Chinedu Anozie was forced to make a world class save to deny Ijebu Utd a chance to level up from a thunderous strike from 22 yards.
Shooting Stars then had a couple of chances to seal up the game but were naive at goal, thus ending the half with the one goal lead.
With 21 minutes into the second half, the Oluyole Warriors were reduced to a man down, as Gbolagade the goal scorer was shown a red carded following his rash tackle on his marker.
Three minutes to end of the game, Ijebu United were rewarded for their never-say-die efforts no thanks to Ifeanyi Ihemekwele who jumped heights in-between his marker to nod his effort beyond the reach of Anozie for the equalizing goal.
With spot kicks needed to decide who battles Beyond Limits in the final, Ijebu United would count themselves lucky as they won the penalty shootout 3-4 after 3SC failed to make the most from their opponents two misses.