Osun United returned to a winning way in Ilorin, Kwara State after a loss to league leader, 3sc in the midweek as they fought hard to defeat neighbouring Ekiti United by 2 goals to 1 in the week 6 fixtures of the ongoing Nigeria National League (NNL).
A brace by Jabar Anifowose, halved by Sunday Oyebade in the 78th minute condemned ‘Ayeni Boys’ to the second loss in 4 days after a lone goal defeat to Vandrezzer in the midweek encounter played in Lagos.
The ‘Omoluabi Giants’, who were banished to Ilorin by NNL due to the violation of Covid-19 when they hosted Vandrezzer in Osogbo had a slow start apparently due to fatigue of playing two games within three days, coupled with the travelling distance.
In spite of this, the hosts created several chances in the first half as skipper Hakeem Olalere combined well with Yomi Olaoke to feed Jabar Anifowose and Victor Okeji who lost some glorious chances.
Jabar however put the hosts ahead when he tapped in from the goalmouth scramble in the 27th minute as he capitalised on the defensive error by Ekiti United defender, Ridwan Gafar who failed to clear from a long throwing by Aleem Adebayo.
Jabar had two other chances to add to his tally late on but failed to convert while Dennis Meshach and Alani Azeez were denied by Ekiti United goalkeeper, Believe Imiete as the hosts maintained the one-goal lead in the half time.
The omoluabi Giants got a second goal in the first minute of the second half when Ebuka Chukwu’s error dropped the ball to an unmarked Jabar, who flipped it over the onrushing Ekiti United goalkeeper, Believe Imiete whose touch could not save the ball to land in the yearning net.
Shortly afterwards, Ekiti United brought in Akinyemi Timothy, Oyebade Adeleye and Saheed Lasisi who added positive bites into the team as Ekiti United launched offensive attacks and mounted pressure on the host.
Osun United back four, Olusola Akilapa, Jerry Okon, Aleem Adebayo and Seun Akinyemi continued to block the firepower of Oke Nse and Onikoko Jamiu who threatened with several flashes saved by Nurudeen Lateef.
Ekiti United halved the deficit in the 79th minute when substitute, Oyebade Adeleye fired a parallel shot from 30 yards which went past the helpless Nurudeen Lateef to boost the morale of ‘Ayeni Boys’.
Ekiti United threatened further and could have levelled up in the injury time but Pius Chikodi’s header was saved by Nurudeen as the referee blew the final whistle.
Speaking with journalists after the match, Osun United Coach Bright Omokaro (MON) praised his boys for the hard fought victory despite the stress and fatigue.
“It’s not easy playing two matches away from home within two days but we thank God for the victory. The battle continues as we begin to prepare for our next game as soon as we get to Osogbo because we are not there yet.”
Ekiti United Coach, Ayodeji Ayeni in his reaction described the game as a fierce southwest derby, adding that there are rooms for improvement.
“It’s a good game even though we lost. Of course you can’t win every game but there are positives to take from today’s match. We will definitely work on the lapses noticed before our next home game.’
Osun United will next weekend travel to Iyahmo, Edo State to face Dynamite Force on Sunday while Ekiti United will welcome Calabar Rovers to the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti a day before in the week 8 fixtures.
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