Football can be such a cruel game, one driven with so much passion for a particular club by players and fans. Fans watch their teams lose occasionally; some losess harder to take than the others.
Some losses infruriating, while others humiliating. The toughest losses come on the biggest stages, and this is for sure a big stage.
The Invitational Football Challenge, largely lauded not just for its ability to produce nerve sizzling moments and thrilling performances enough to get you off your seats but for what it stands for which is the promotion of grassrootfootball, Under 13 Football competition in particular with a minimum of 35kg for all participating players and an 8man team for all participants.
The competition kicked off with Sanctuary Strikers locking horns with Diamond Star FC. This was not in any way short of a competition opener as all viewers witnessed a nine goal thriller leaving some viewers happier than the other but what can be said?Football is a cruelly beautiful game.
The first half began with a Sanctuary Strikers FC’s attack which saw Ogunleye Mubarak lauch the ball down the right wing from midfield for Abdusalam Kehinde who pulls a cross into the box for John Kehinde but his flick fails to beat the goalkeeper as the referee signals for a goalkick.
The first few minutes of the first half saw Sanctuary Strikers dominant in attack as John Kehinde the Sanctuary Strikers FC’s hitman missed a couple of chances one from a sizzling passes from Adedotun Feranmi.
The striker however won a freekick after being fouled by the Diamond star’s central Defender Sunday David outside the eighteen yard box but the team failed to convert the ensuing freekick.
Shortly after, a quick succession of passes between Adedotun Feranmi and Ogunleye Mubarak saw the ball sent into the Diamond Star FC’s box which Abdusalam Kehinde caught quite swiftly with a low drive shot backed off the woodwork.
Nothing was heard of a Diamond Star FC’s attack until late in the 15th minute of the first half when Diamond Star FC’ s striker Oladipupo Mohammed won a freekick deep in the opposition half though not taken well enough to trouble the Santuary Stricker FC No 1 was however a step in the right direction for the team.
As the first half progressed, the Sanctuary Strikers proved on top of the game with nothing less than five clear cut chances created between Adedotun Feranmi and Ogunleye Mubarak leaving Coach Dunga and the fans fustrated.
The long awaited goal came in the 18th minute when the Sanctuary Strikers hitman John kehinde dispossessed the Diamond Stars FC ‘s goalkeeper who fails to clear off his line properly for an easy ball slot into the back of the net.
The first substitution of the game came at the 20th minute as the Diamond Star FC’ s Winger Jeremiah Samuel was replaced by David Ibrahim.
The second goal of the match came with just few minutes on the clock to the end of the first half by Santuary Strikers FC’s who had unarguably been the best side in the game. It started with a quick one two pass down the right side of the pitch between Ogunleye Mubarak and Adedotun Feranmi who sends the ball to Abdusalam Kehinde whose shot left the keeper helpless as the ball makes its way into the net to cap off a Santuary Strikers FC’s dominated first half.
Many who watched the first half would have envisaged the end of the match or a super come back from the Diamond Star’s FC players but little did they know that the match was far from over as Coach Dunga’s boys were not done announcing themselves as the team to be beaten in the competition.
Santuary strikers Fc further sinked their opponenets in the second half with six goals to nil, the first from their striker John Kehinde who heads home a well swinged in corner by Adedotun Feranmi.
As the match progressed the Diamond Strickers FC players struggled, noticed by their coach tried a change in tactics which saw another substitution as Oguiewoyi Prosper is replaced by Ojedikan Malik.
Unfortunately, despite two substitutions in the game Diamond Star FC players seemed no match for the Santuary strickers FC players who were hell bent on blowing their opponents away no matter who stood in their way.
In the 40th minute Adedotun Feranmi volleyed home for the fourth goal of the match as a corner by Abdusalam kehinde tussled for in the box fell kindly for the midfielder who powered home a left footed shot to the bottom left corner of the post.
The first substitution for Santuary Strikers FC came late in the second half as John Kehinde the hitman with two goals already to his name made way for his twin brother John Taiwo.
Diamond Star FC’s defence looked extremely weak for the Johns as John Taiwo went on to score a hattrick which ensured the ball went home to the family. The other goals were scored by Ogunleye Mubarak from the penalty spot when Diamond FC’s substitute Malik blocked a shot by Adedotun Feranmi headed for goal with his hand in the eighteen yard box.
Adedotun Feranmi capped of his man of the match performance with a shot to the right corner of the post from an Abdulsalam Kehinde pass to seal a nine goal thriller by the Santuary Strikers FC.