SUBSTITUTE Izu Joseph became the match hero on Sunday at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan, as his header gave Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) a 2-1 victory over visiting Nasarawa United. Izu had replaced Olabisi Samuel in the 75th minute to beef up the defence of the Oluyole Warriors in the match day 26 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League, and his inclusion eventually made the difference.
The workaholic defender was on hand to connect a corner kick with a header which caught goalkeeper Suraju Ayeleso napping in the dying minutes.
Abdulrahman Bashir had put the Solid Miners ahead in the 18th minute when he connected a cross from Tayo Fabiyi, a former 3SC striker with a jab which caught goalkeeper Charles Tembe helpless at close range.
The visitors maintained the lead till the second half before 3SC captain, Sylvanus Ebiaku converted a spot kick which was awarded to his side after Salau Ibrahim was axed in the box in the 62nd minute.
Coach Gbenga Ogunbote also introduced Afolabi Waheed and Sunday Adetunji as the match was heading for a stalemate before Izu eventually got the match winner during added time.
Bashir had earlier missed what would have been the second goal by Nasarawa United coached by Kabir Suleiman Dogo, as he wasted another cross from rampaging Fabiyi, who gave his former team a lot of stress in the defence.
Samson Gbadebo also wasted a gilt-edged chance before the final whistle as his scissors kick missed the target by an inch.
Speaking after the match, coach Kabir Dogo said he expected a tough game from the side tutored by coach Ogunbote, just as he lamented the loss.
“It was a good game, my players did their best and 3SC gave us a fight.
“I must confess to you that we really prepared for this match because we knew that any team from Coach Ogunbote is always a solid team. I commend my boys for the great work on the field, they played to instructions despite the defeat and we will continue to improve on our performance,” he said.
Also, 3SC handler, Ogunbote said it has never been easy playing against Nasarawa United. “This is one of the toughest opposition we got from any team and I thank God for this victory. My players worked hard for it and we also appreciate the support of our fans who stood by us throughout the game,” the former Sunshine Stars handler said.