GUNS FC v BRAVOS FC
In a rematch of last season’s 3rd Place Match, bottom of the Mainland Conference, Guns FC face top of the table, Bravos Knights. This game is a bit unique; both teams faced the same opponents on Matchday 1 (All Black) with Guns losing to them & Bravos Knights winning.
Matchday 1 left Guns with mixed feelings when the referee blew his whistle for full time. On one hand, their new loan signing, Sly Ighedosa grabbed a debut brace which is always good news to a manager. On the other hand, they ended up losing the game (to All Black who had played earlier in the day). The loss left Guns FC rooted to the bottom of the table, below Raineri Ghost who are yet to even play a game. While, historically, they’ve started their league campaigns slowly and made late chargers towards the end, it’s a risky belief to live by. Guns FC have a new(?) problem of their defense taking naps with the game still on. While All Black did manage to put 3 goals past them, it could easily have been 5 or 6. Goal keeper Quadri Balogun looked like he’d rather be on the beach, sipping on a cocktail and watching beautiful people have fun than be on the pitch. The more we look at the replay of the 3 goals conceded, the more we’re convinced of this. Just like last season, Guns look decent upfront but would need a major surgery to fix their backline to stand a chance of making the playoffs.
For Bravos Knights, they’ll be hoping for a repeat of the 3rd Place Match performance which earned them a deserved 2-0 victory. Their 2018 League campaign got off to a good start with a 2-0 victory over All Black which included an absolute peach of a goal by Abbey Omobulegbe. The performance was enough to earn head coach, Alabi Kazeem the (joint) Manager of the Month award as well as Abbey the (joint) goal of the month award. Yet, it was evident that Bravos looked to have dropped a level or two from their 2017 form. The absence of key players Alaba Otokoya, Nuel Eze, Francis Kellor-Smith and John Ndanusa was very glaring and it’s left to see how Bravos would carry on without them for the most part. Still, they’re a really solid team capable of getting the right results and you do get a feeling they’ll be in the playoff picture all through the season.
RAINERI GHOST FC v ALL BLACK FC
Last season’s finalist and Mainland Conference champions return to the SociaLiga but they’ll be a little be hard to recognize. The loss of 3 of their best performers in the 2017 campaign (joint Golden Glove Winner, Nelson Princewill, Club Player of the Season, Victor Eneji & joint Top-Scorer, Shahin Alawam) could be hard to overcome especially in these early stages.
More interestingly, this game is a rematch of the famous “#RainHasCome” game from last season in which Raineri Ghost, on the back of a 3-game scoring drought, recorded a SociaLiga joint record 5-0 win over All Black. While they’ll obviously be looking for a repeat of that result, it’ll almost impossible considering the changes to the team.
Despite All Black’s opening loss to Bravos Knights, they did bounce back against Guns with a victory and looked good doing so especially down the left flank where all 3 of their goals came from. However, old problems still surfaced for All Black on Matchday 1. Last season, they struggled defensively conceding an average of 1.5 goals per game, the second worst record in the entire league. So far this season, they’ve conceded 4 goals in 2 games (an average of 2 per game), coincidentally the second worst record in the league at the moment. It’s obvious were their focus should lie going into Saturday.