The 3rd matchday of this competition on Wednesday, 13th of July presented us with two fixtures in the mould of Year 2 (War Machines) versus year 4 (Black panthers) and year 3 (Winter Soldiers) taking on year 1 (Antmen).
YEAR 2 VS YEAR 4
One important aspect I have noticed from the Year 2 aka War machines is the way they dominate the midfield and today was not different but they still lack that striker that will score the goals for them. They were putting on their white jerseys with a red vertical stripe down the side while Year 4 wore their black jerseys with a white vertical stripe down the side.
There was not much action to report in the first half other than wayward shots by the War machines mainly by Robert and Idowu Lawrence. The Black panthers were satisfied with putting long hopeless balls through the middle of the centre back pairing of Orji and Lenny who cleared the halls with ease. I was particularly impressed with Lenny who was using eye glass to play but was still brave in going up for any airball.
The likes of Quasim and Dennis were pretty much doing their best to prevent any clear cut chance to the war machines, as the War machines won a lot of freekicks from the fouls the Year 4 team were committing. The delivery by Idowu Lawrence was not impressive at all.The first half ended without much incident.
The second half started and year 4 were attacking from left to right and year 2 in the opposite direction. It was same of the same except for the controversial goal scored by the black panthers like five minutes to the end. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the War machines after their dogged defending and midfield dominance.
A long ball was chased down by Quasim down the left wing which he got due to his athletic strength, at first the Year 2 thought the ball had gone out for a corner but the referee waved play on and Quasim crossed the ball into the box and the tall imposing Dominic crashed a header into the net of the War machines to make it 1-0 to the black panthers.
They defended their lead for the few minutes left until the referee blew his whistle for the end of the match. It was a smash and grab win for the black panthers. The War machines will feel let down by the goal they conceded as they didn’t deserve to lose the match. It will serve as a lesson to all teams not to stop playing unless they hear the whistle of the referee.
YEAR 2 STATISTICS YEAR 4
0 GOALS 1
8 SHOTS 6
1 ON TARGET 1
3 FOULS 4
1 YELLOW CARDS 3
0 RED CARDS 0
1 OFFSIDES 0
2 CORNERS 3
55 POSSESSION(%) 45
*Stats by Olumayowa Akinyemi
YEAR 1 VS YEAR 3
Before the match, the Antmen had bragged that they will beat the Winter soldiers because of the individualistic nature of the year 3 team as they play like Belgium atimes. Whether this was true or the Antmen were speaking out of youthful exuberance, this match was there to answer these questions . The year 3 had lost their first match to the Black panthers on the first matchday 2 goals to 1 and were in a precarious situation as anything other than a win would spell doom for them.
Ayo was talked up a lot after he scored three goals against the Year 4 team, he was putting on Tobolos boots for the match, whether this was a sign of generosity or a ploy by the black panthers to encouarge Ayo to cause more harm to year 3 team one couldn’t decipher. Both teams made changes to their lineups as Kay was drafted in to play the centre back position alongside Tochukwu and Bolaji was replaced by Timi in the starting lineup while the Antmen welcomed the strength and height of Omio into their midfield.
The first half belonged to the Winter soldiers as they were out to prove a point. Varlo was particularly impressive as he had a couple of shots but they were always flying away from goal, likewise Timi and Murphy who was having a bad day in office as his finishing was letting him down.
The main outlet of attack for the Antmen on rare occasions was through Ayo but was repeatedly stopped in his tracks by Tochukwu, whether his new boots were hindering him or the three goals he has scored so far made him a marked man, I couldn’t say for sure as he was not at his usual best. Kay was doing well at the back as his confidence on the ball was on display throughout the fist half. There was no goal to report in the first half as the lack of cutting edge from both teams particularly the Winter soldiers showed as they were perplexed on why they were not leading yet.
Both teams resumed hostilities in the second half with the winter soldiers playing from left to right and the Antmen in opposite direction. The Antmen started with renewed vigor as they sought an early goal and were rewarded when a harmless cross by Omio was not well handled by Ivan who had been untroubled till now, the ball dropped out of his hand as he was about to catch it in the air, and Khalil was on hand to bundle it in to quell any suggestions whether the ball was on the line or was an own goal. 1-0 to the Antmen.
The Winter soldiers were all looking like they had all seen a ghost. They managed to pickup the ball to restart the game. The next piece of action was an instant reply from the Winter soldiers as Timi picked up the ball from the right wing and played it into the path of Murphy who used his long legs to good effect as he brought it down and scored a striker’s typical goal with his left foot. 1-1 the drama just got started.
The winter soldiers kept on asking the questions as there were waves upon waves of attack to the defence of the Antmen. The long throws and the repeated runs by Tochukwu during corners was a cause of concern for the Antmen. Their defence eventually crumbled like 10 minutes to the end of the match when a long throw by Varlo found its way into the defensive territory of the Antmen and they failed to clear it as Tochukwu poked the ball into an empty net for his first goal in the competition after a defensive mixup by Ugbah and his defenders.
That proved to be the match winner and the first 3 points for the winter soldiers this year who brought back memories on the way they played last year in their unbeaten run to the final. Final score 2-1 to the year 3 team.
YEAR 1 STATISTICS YEAR 3
1 GOALS 2
2 SHOTS 6
0 ON TARGET 4
4 FOULS 7
0 YELLOW CARDS 0
0 RED CARDS 0
1 OFFSIDES 2
0 CORNERS 3
30 POSSESSION(%) 70
*Stats by Olumayowa Akinyemi