Posted by Nelson Dafe, Benin City | 21 September 2013 | 4,834 times
The Edo State Football League second round matches have been concluded and the first upset of the competition came with the elimination of defending champions BJ FC by a less fancied Inneh Stars at the mainbowl of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
Many fans had thronged the stadium on Thursday (Sept. 19) with expectation of a BJ triumph, given their solid history in the competition. However, it was interesting to see the hitherto unknown Inneh Stars put up a stubborn and brave display that shocked the top favourites. BJ scored a penalty in extra time of the second half, but it was no more than a consolation goal as there was no time for a comeback. Final score stood at 2-1 in favour of Inneh Stars.
It was clear from the early minutes of the game that the BJ team did not possess enough quality like they had last year when players like Success Isaac (who just signed for Italian Seria A side Udinese), Freeborn Omofomwan (now with Warri Wolves) and Emma Ito ran rings round their opponents. The present squad looked like they desperately needed experience as their play often lacked imagination, and involved too many hoofed balls.
One team now emerging as favorites for the state league crown are J.J Stars. The Upper Sakpoba Area-based side convincingly beat a well-respected side, Evangelists FC, 4-1 to progress to the group stage.
With an almost telepathic understanding of each other’s movement, the on-the-ball composure, quick-passing movements and overall fantastic technique of J.J Stars players were a sight to behold at the Ogbemudia Stadium on Wednesday.
Michael Ibe put J.J Stars ahead in the early minutes of the first half after a period of utter siege on the defence of the Evangelists. It was a brillaint goal, as he timed his run perfectly to beat the off-side trap of his opponents to meet a well weighed pass from Nosa Ovenseri who got a hat trick in his team’s first match. Ibe picked his spot and jabbed home cooly for the opener.
When brilliant midfielder, Kester Irhabor, scored moment later from a similar move, the Evangelists players heads dropped, and the fans at the stadium, who came in appreciable numbers, needed no evangelisation to convert to admirers of J.J Stars football.
At the stroke of half time, Kester Irhabo made it three from a shot just inside the box, and at that point the game was over as a contest.
Substitute Osahende Odemwingie was a solitary star for the Evangelists and after earning his side a penalty,which his teammate wasted, he popped up to score mid-way in the second half with a well-placed shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. However, any dreams of an unlikely comeback was extinguished when Ibe got his second of the day, and J.J’s fourth from the penalty spot after an Evangelists defender was penalised for handling the ball.
•Photo shows J.J Stars.
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