Alphas 0 v 1 Dannaz
Alphas had dug themselves in a hole. A very big hole. Despite coming into Matchday 5 in 3rd position, their chances of dropping to 3rd looked higher than their chances of remaining 4th. With just 2 wins and 6 goals in their first 15 SociaLiga matches over the first 2 seasons, their area of weakness needed no real professional to spot. After scoring 2 goals in the opening day of the season, the Wolves had gone 5 months with just 1 more goal added to that tally. Manager, Clinton McDubus had left his position 2 games into the season and the all the promise Alphas’ showed prior to the start of the season seemed to fade away with each passing Matchday.
Dannaz were still hurt by the loss to Citizens on Matchday 4 and manager, Danny Nazzal wanted to finish on a high. First teamers like Joshua Obakimi, Abiola Adebayo, Fatai Bashiru, Precious Emmanuel and Isreal Princewill all kept their starting jobs despite a playoff spot already sealed. The game got off to a very slow start with both goal-keepers better off sipping on expensive drinks somewhere on the beach. Joshua Obakimi and Abiola Adebayo showed flashes of brilliance occasionally but it remained goalless midway through the first half. Dannaz came close to opening the scoring with Joshua Obakimi missing 2 chances to add to his goal tally. At half time, it remained goalless and Dannaz were looking far from the team that blew everyone away in the first 4 months of the season.
Manager Danny Nazzal surely gave his players the hair dryer treatment at half time judging by their start in to the second half. They pressed even harder for a goal and at this point, fans forgot Alphas were the team actually in need of a goal to keep their season alive. Joshua Obakimi, again, came close to scoring on two occasions with a shot stopped by Alphas’ Mikolo and then a header sailing just wide of the post. Dannaz substitute, Romanus Amamba got the break through goal midway through the second half to put Dannaz ahead and send Alphas fans into panic mode. Alphas were staring their 10th SociaLiga loss in 16 games right in the face and only a miracle now could help them. Dannaz got reduced to 10-men when Musa Amadu was sent off for a second yellow card offence. The numerical advantage seemed to come way too late for the Alphas and they couldn’t capitalize on it. Dannaz held on for their 5th win of the season, a record setting 83.3% win rate in the Regular Season and a well-deserved #1 seed to go with it. For Alphas, they all went into prayer mode as they hoped familiar foes, Saints would do them a favour by beating Citizens by 2 goals or more.
#SociaLigaMD5 : Island Conference Preview
Dannaz have gone and built on their solid opening day display. They just had their winning/unbeaten streak snapped by Citizens but prior to that, they set a SociaLiga record of 4 consecutive wins to start the season, a feat never achieved before.
Saints 1 v 2 Citizens
“Revival” is one word that has been met with a lot of negativity over the last 7 months, no thanks to Eminem’s underwhelming 7th solo studio album. In The SociaLiga, however, “Revival” is the one word that has been met with a lot of positivity, thanks to Citizens FC.
The task was crystal clear after the Citizens’ goalless draw with Alphas on the extra matchday; to make the playoffs, they had to beat Dannaz FC & Saints FC, arguably the two best teams in the league. They had grabbed a win over Dannaz on Matchday 4, thanks to a brace by Bobo and some excellent goalkeeping by Duwem. Alphas’ loss to Dannaz earlier in the day meant a draw would have been enough for Citizens but playing for a draw is a risky business except you’re a certain Portuguese manager renowned for poking the eyes of rival assistant managers. Saints rested a handful of first teamers including Wale, Robert Odu, skipper Zizou who was returning from suspension and last season’s league and finals MVP, Nurudeen. Still, the quality on display seemed enough to cause Citizens some serious trouble. Citizens were hot off the blocks with the ball in the back of the net inside 5 mins only to be rightfully ruled out for offside.
Saints’ Otubu grabbed the opener and his 6th goal of the tournament when a deflected shot fell right into his part. The Saints’ marksman wasted no time in slotting past Citizens’ Duwem but, to everyone’s surprise, that only seemed to make Citizens stronger. Drawing inspiration from Guns’ miracle last season, Citizens continued to push for a goal before half-time but Saints’ defense held on for the lead. At half time, Citizens’ Doyin Ajibike made four substitutions with Zino, Oge Anizor, Ojo AK and Freddie making their way into the game. Doyin Ajibike had spent all summer raving about midfielder, Oge Anizor and it seemed only right that the midfielder repaid his manager’s faith in him by grabbing the equalizer 10 mins after coming on. Oge Anizor converted from the spot after referee Obayemi Afeez spotted a handball by a Saints player inside the box.
A quarter of an hour later, Citizens grabbed the winner. This time, defensive midfielder Tide meeting a perfectly floated cross with his head to leave Saints’ goal keeper, Dolapo rooted to the spot. 2-1 to the Citizens and their run of a 15 months without a win now seemed like a distant memory. Saints tried to pull level but there was no breaking down the Citizens’ defense anymore. The referee signaled for full time and Citizens were in their very first playoff after completing one hell of a turn around.
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