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RoadToFinal: Saints, Dannaz set up an epic finale

We are set for a blockbuster grand finale in the Bet9jaSociaLiga after defending champions, Dannaz FC, and Saints FC qualified for the final on Sunday.

Defending champions, Dannaz defeated a spirited Alimosho FC, while Saints saw Raineri Ghosts in the SociaLigaPlayOffs at the Campos Mini Stadium, Lagos Island.

In the Women’s division, Dannaz Ladies picked up the only ticket remaining and will face Alimosho Ladies in the final following their defeat of defending champions, Knights Ladies, also on Sunday.

Let’s get into more juicy details of all the three interesting SociaLigaPlayOffs matches played inside the Campos Mini.

Saints 2-1 Raineri
Tiki the hero for former Champions.

The central midfielder, Tikitaryan was the unlikely hero as Saints Football Club returned to where they want to be, in the final of the Bet9jaSociaLiga.

Tiki netted the decisive goal late into the second half to seal a 2-1 win for Saints over Raineri Ghosts, who struck the post late on through Olisemeka Esumeh, in the first game of the 2019 SociaLigaPlayOffs.

The match started on a rainy note following threats from a heavy downpour at the Campos Mini which nearly disrupted proceedings at the stadium.

But the Ghosts were having none of it from the weather as they took an early lead courtesy of a beautiful Shahin goal.

It was a wonderful effort from the former Saints man, who controlled a floated pass before superbly volleying past the helpless Saints goalkeeper to put the Ghosts 0-1 ahead.

Saints dominated the opening half but struggled to create any meaningful chances to get behind a well organised Raineri backline.

However, Saints were rewarded deep into the first half when an error from the Raineri left-back presented an opportunity for Otubu whose beautiful cut-back pass found strike partner, Babatunde, who made no mistake from close range to equalise for Saints.

It was no less than the former champions deserved, at least for all their dominance on the ball as both sides went into the break locked at 1-1.

The second half was a bit cagey from the two teams, as neither wanted to make any more mistakes.

With time running out on both sides, however, it was the former champions who scored the winner as Raineri failed to clear their lines and Tiki’s hopeful header sailed into the net to send Saints fans into a frenzy.

2-1 it ended in favour of Saints, who are back in the final after missing out last season. For Raineri, they will be disappointed that once again, they have failed to get the better of the Saint Army in a competitive match.

Dannaz Ladies 2-0 Knights Ladies
Happiness, Akinbo send Dannaz through to the first-ever final

Debutants, Dannaz Ladies have ensured that the Women’s final will also be an epic one after an efficient 2-0 victory over Knights Ladies.

Two first-half goals from Happiness and top scorer, Akinbo Ajoke, who scored an excellent free-kick, sealed the first-ever final for the Cedars Ladies in their maiden campaign.

It was a result many expected as Dannaz was pencilled down as the overwhelming favourite for this clash.

The Cedars had met the holders two times already this season, winning both encounters without conceding a goal while scoring five.

However, the champions were expected to put up a fight in the playoffs but disappointed bookmakers with Dannaz sealing the game at half time.

The second half was not as lively as the first, but Knights would wish they had defended in the first as they did in the second.

In the end, it was and is Dananz Ladies who picked up the ticket for the final against Alimosho Ladies next month.

Dannaz 1-0 Alimosho
Adebayo scores decisive goal to keep title defence alive

Defending champions, Dannaz, were made to dig deeper than they may have expected before getting past Alimosho to keep their title defence alive.

Dannaz left it late before overcoming debutants, Alimosho FC, 1-0 in the final match of the SociaLigaPlayOffs on Sunday.

Abiola Adebayo was the hero as his decisive late goal sealed a spot in the final against fierce rivals, Saints next month.

The game between Alimosho and the champions was the most anticipated of the SociaLigaPlayOffs, and it indeed lived up to its pre-match hype.

It was a balanced game that saw both teams hit the woodwork, Alimosho in the opening minutes of the first half, and Dannaz, via top scorer, Joshua Obakimi, in the second.

But just when everyone at the Campos Mini was getting ready for extra time, a devastating counter-attack from the champions saw Adebayo through on goal, and with Alimosho goalkeeper way off his line, the forward calmly looped the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper and into the net.

A heartbreaking end to the game for Alimosho, who deserved more from the game. But for Dannaz, another final beckon, but this time it is juicy one against their fiercest rivals, Saints.

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