Shooting Stars Izu Joseph pulled a last minute trick from the hat to dash Nasarawa United’s hope of picking a point from Ibadan in their Nigeria Professional Football League match day 26 clash at the Lekan Salami Stadium.
The visitors had showed promise of pulling an upset as Abdulrahman Bashir fired in in the 18th minute and stood firm for the whole of the first period, keeping the hosts on disadvantage into the break.
Shooting however found their feet in the 61st minute as Ibrahim Salau was fouled in the box and Ebiaku Promise calmly converted the resulting penalty to get even.
Both teams held each other on the jugular with Shooting creating the most chances but wasting as many. Ojukwu Ifeagu got close to producing the lead in the 69th minute when Shooting got a turnover and went on the counter but he shot wide, unforced. Two minutes later, they launched another counter attack, penetrating deep but anxious Ajani strayed offside.
With the fans showing desperation, Shooting made quick substitutions, replacing Olabisi Samuel with Izu Joseph in the 74th minute but Nasarawa replied with Bature Yaro in for Abdulrahman Bashir as both teams remained squared into regulation time and Nasarawa looking like getting away with a point.
With six minutes added it all looked difficult for Shooting but their pressure produced a last minute corner from which Izu Joseph sneaked in to tap home from the resulting goal mouth struggle, providing Shooting the winner at 2-1.
Head coach of Nasarawa United, Kabiru Dogo, regrets the loss but commended his players for putting up a good fight while also admitting that Shooting showed great strength.
“My boys proved themselves but that is football, you don’t will every time.My big boss (Shooting coach, Gbenga Ogunbote) is doing a great job with 3SC and they played well.”
For Ogunbote, it was a tough challenge for his team but he is happy that the introduction of Izu Joseph proved effective.
“It was a tough match. When the season gets to this stage you should expect stiff opposition. The substitution of Izu (Joseph) which led to the second goal was a tactical one. We needed to keep moving forward and mounting pressure and it paid off. We will continue to put on our best.”