Ojo Tolulope’s header cancelled out Haruna Salifu’s leveller as Bendel Insurance edged Gateway United 2-1 in the first game of the 2020/2021 NNL second stanza at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
Both teams started brightly, trying to create early chances in the first 15 minutes of a pulsating affair but clear cut chances were hard to come by.
Good defending cum alertness of Araromi Ibukun expertly kept the hosts at bay after a surge of crosses and in-swingers in dangerous areas.
Eventually, in the 46th minute, the home side broke the deadlock as Bright Osas rose highest to nod in a freekick from the right hand side of the box 18.
The Hakeem Busari tutored side came back stronger in the second half especially with the introduction of Odusina Olasunkanmi and Ebuka Okeke replacing Okolo Michael and Ikechukwu Julius.
In the 55th minute, the diminutive winger Sunkanmi got past his marker on the right flank, pulled in a cross but Seyi Okeowo agonizingly headed wide.
The well deserved leveller came 10 minutes after as Haruna Salifu scored his third goal of the season, beating an offside trap to fire Seyi Okeowo’s cross into the roof of the net.
Ojo Tolulope then headed in a low cross in the 76th minute to give his side another lead, this time around, there was no coming back for the visitors as the hosts held on to the 2-1 scoreline.
*Niyi Soleye calls for massive improvement on the road*
Reacting to the loss, Gateway United Acting General Manager, Niyi Soleye frowned at the result, while charging the team to show more impetus.
“We can’t afford to slip especially in a game of this nature. Therefore, I demand a massive improvement. Our defence can’t afford to be leaking in such a manner. We must take our chances and complement that with a watertight defence. As for the technical crew, work on all the lapses identified in today’s game”
Gateway United who have a bye next weekend (matchday 15) will next face Holy Arrows at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta on the 15th May, 2021.