Dolphins and Warri Wolves played out an enthralling goalless draw in a rescheduled week 7 tie today, Thursday.
|Photo Credit: LMC|
The game was postponed last weekend to allow Wolves honour a third round CAF Confederations cup match away at MK Etancheite in Congo.
Wolves got the better of their host in that encounter; qualifying 3-1 on the night following an impressive 1-0 win.
Dolphins however made just one change to the side that beat Lobi Stars on Sunday. Burkinabe striker Abdelrahame Diarra replaced the injured Ifeanyi Egwim.
Former Sunshine Stars defender, Kwambe Solomon made his full debut for Wolves. Super Eagles defender Azubuike Egwuekwe also started his first league game since Week 2 while Sikiru Alimi took the place of Gbolahan Salami upfront.
Buoyed by that fine win away on the continent, Wolves went in search of yet another away victory. But former Federation Cup kings Dolphins would not just roll over and, urged on by a handful of supporters, they started brightly and should have taken the lead as early as the sixth minute when Super Eagles defender Egwuekwe was robbed of the ball putting Sochuma Elum through on goal.
However instead of shooting at goal, the attacker opted for a pass which came to nothing to the relief of Egwuekwe and Wolves.
Chances were few and far between as a very competitive contest went in at half-time goalless at the Liberation Stadium. Wolves created the better of the chances, though while their hosts were largely indecisive in the final third.
The second half proved a more interesting affair and any of the sides could have gone on to claim the win and the three points at stake.
Dolphins should have netted the opener with 15 minutes left on the watch when Jonathan Zikiye sent a sweet cross into the box but Elum could only direct a tame header into Akpeyi’s hands in Wolves goal.
It was end-to-end stuff at the closing stages: first, Wolves’ Stanley Dimgba shot narrowly off target from 16 yards at the end of a sweeping team move. Before Dolphins weighed in with three chances in quick succession but were thwarted by Akpeyi and poor finishing.
And there was still time on the clock for Wolves’ keeper Akpeyi to pull off an impressive save to deny Dolphins’ best player on the day Ali Chinwendu from scoring.
None of the chances were converted with both teams settling for the draw in the end.
3SC Humbles Kano Pillars in Ibadan
|Photo Credit: LMC|
An 11th minute strike from Junior Ajayi was all Shooting Stars needed to humble the league champions in Ibadan.
The Oluyole Warriors, who had previously won only one game this season – a 2-0 defeat of Kwara United a fortnight ago – were in imperious form and made their early pressure count as Junior Ajayi received a pass from Olabiyi, turned inside of his marker and finished superbly.
Both teams had chances to add to the score line but Pillars could not get past the organised defense of the home side.
The win improves 3SC’s total points to seven and lifts them out of the relegation waters.
A delighted Shooting Stars coach, Franklin Howard, was however quick to set the focus of his wards on their next encounter against an in-form Sunshine Stars:
“We got the job done which is important, though towards the end (of the game vs Kano Pillars) we were under pressure. Now we have to focus on the next game in Ondo.”
The loss condemns Kano Pillars to their third straight away defeat of the season.
Kano Pillars coach, Okey Emordi, knows just where to plant the blame:
“I don’t think it’s an excuse for failing to score or win that our key players are absent. The others should take up the chance to play and prove themselves.”