The second game of the SociaLiga’s first Matchday saw new boys Czars and the Citizens, clash in an Inter-Conference fixture. The niceties were quickly dispensed with here, as within two minutes, Czars playmaker Joseph Olaoye split the Citizens defence with a well weighted through ball. His team mate, however, could not profit from the one-on-one situation with the opposition ‘keeper.
That move set the trend for most of the Czars attacks on the day, as another ball through the heart of the Citizens defence found Ebuka Ogueri staring goalie James in the face. He opted for a chip which sailed narrowly over the post. The Citizens’ first attack followed soon after as Vinega progressed into the final third with the ball, eventually skying over.
A narrow pitch meant both teams often sought to find joy through the centre of the pitch; balls in behind the defence were a recurring theme. Czars centre-back Seun Thomas snuffed out a Citizens attack down the right inside channel, then it was Opeyemi Pelle’s turn to play Ogueri through, and yet again the Czars number 14 could not provide a telling finish. Ogueri was in the thick of the action, displaying some lovely touches and even finding time and space to juggle the ball beyond an opposition player. Just before half time, the Citizens forced their way down the right flank after the Czars defence committed to a series of failed tackles; Chifu dragged the resulting shot wide of goal.
The second half resumed and there was no let-up in attacking intent from either side. A neat back heel in midfield released Citizens forward Edim down the right but his cross was cleared; it was however the Czars who got the breakthrough in the thirty-fourth minute, and deservedly. Predictably, a through ball through the middle did the damage as Pelle released Lukman Olawunmi who sprinted on to the ball and hit a first time shot past James into the bottom corner.
They should have doubled that soon after too. Some lovely play saw the ball worked through the middle, followed inevitably by that through ball this team favour so much. This time, the chance fell to Salami Kalid but his shot was easily tamed dealt with by James.
Throughout the match, the Czars had created a number of high quality chances, falling to a variety of players but the quality of their finishing, on this evidence, will leave the door open for opponents. And deep into the second half, the Citizens almost made them pay, first from a corner which saw a goal bound header kept out by Czars goalkeeper Kehinde Samuel’s fine one-handed save and seconds later, after from a one on one chance which came to nothing. The Citizens were kept at bay and Czars held on to the three points.
Written by Adebayo Fagbola (@fagboo)