With just one of the fourteen Male & Female teams guaranteed a playoff spot heading into Saturday, SociaLiga’s Matchday 4 was always going to serve us interesting battles and it didn’t let us down. The game everyone had eyes on was the clash between Island Conference’s toppers Dannaz FC & bottom of the conference, Citizens FC. For some reason, everyone sensed something special on the way. Dannaz FC, who’ve already qualified for the playoffs, have been obliterating everything in front of them this season with 4 wins out of 4 games and a Manager of the Month & Player of the Month awards for three consecutive months for Manager, Danny Nazzal and star striker, Joshua Obakimi, the league’s leading scorer. Citizens FC, on the other hand, were without a win in 15 months, losing 9 and drawing 2 of their previous 11 games. Statistically, they had been the worst team in the league and a classic “David vs Goliath” clash was on the cards.
With their backs against the wall & in desperate need of a miracle to save their playoff hopes, attacker, Bobo was the hero of the day in one of the biggest upsets in SociaLiga’s 3-year history. Bobo grabbed a brace to put Citizens 2-0 and send their fans running wild in the stands. First, he hit a ferocious shot into the back of the net and then he displayed the calmness of a veteran surgeon by coolly slotting home his second. Dannaz responded by launching several attacks and Joshua Obakimi pulled one back but Citizens held on for their first competitive win since the 6th of May, 2017. Earlier in the day, defending champions, Saints FC had bounced back from consecutive defeats (both to Dannaz FC) to pick up a 3-1 win over Alphas FC. The result meant Saints FC have now qualified for the playoffs for a record 3 times in a row & with one more spot in the Island Conference up for grabs, Alphas & Citizens have to battle right to the end.
In the Mainland Conference, Guns FC and Raineri Ghost FC settled for a 1-1 draw leaving them in need a result on the final day of the Regular Season to seal a playoff spot. Raineri’s forward, Olisemeka Esumeh has been on fire this season with 4 goals in 4 games and was once again on the scoresheet for the Mainland Conference defending champions. He put The Ghosts 1-0 ahead with a tidy finish but Guns’ on-loan striker, Sly Etuegbe capitalized on a miscommunication from Raineri’s backline to slot home the equalizer, his 3rd goal for the season. Elsewhere, conference mates, Bravos Knights FC and All Black FC, settled for a 1-1 draw as well, earning Bravos Knights their 10th point of the season and a playoff spot. All Black FC, bottom of the Mainland Conference, are within a whisker away from getting eliminated but there’s still a little bit of hope for them with a 4-goal margin win over Raineri Ghost in their next game their only hope for a playoff spot; extremely difficult but not impossible.
In the Female League, debutants, SCN Ladies grabbed their second victory of the season to climb to the top of the table. Goals from Oguneye and Ade-Omoade in each half of the game were enough to hand SCN Ladies their second 2-0 win over Saints Ladies this season. When both sides first met earlier this season, SCN Ladies took advantage of their opponent’s highline and unleashed loads pacey attackers on them. This time around, the SCN Ladies seemed to have done their homework on set-pieces and it was their main source of threat as they claimed all 3 points over the defending Female League Champions. In the second Female League fixture of the day, Ojay Oluwatofehinti opened the scoring for the Knights Ladies against Bravos Ladies. Ojay is no stranger to scoring against Bravos Ladies. When both sides met last season, she grabbed her first goal of the season by finishing off a beautiful counter attacking move; this time around, a close range effort from 6 yards out. Bravos Ladies pushed on for an equalizer and even had a penalty saved. It seemed like all hope for a result was lost but their pressure eventually paid off with Knights Ladies’ Titi turning the ball into her own net to make the game 1-1, the final scoreline.
With just one more day left in the Regular Season, Matchday 4 served as the perfect teaser for an undoubtedly tastier Matchday 5. Saints FC and Bravos Knights FC joined Dannaz FC in the playoffs leaving every other team with a mathematical chance of making the playoff or getting eliminated. Come Matchday 5, every team would have its destiny in its palms and if you can bet there’ll be a few shockers.