A heroic performance from goalkeeper, Esther, saw Knights Ladies crowned queens of the Bet9jaSociaLiga female league for the second time at CIS in Lekki Phase one on Sunday.
Her team mate, Anita, superbly scored the only goal of the game but it was the goalkeeper who proved very decisive as they reclaimed the title they lost last year to Saints Ladies.
Playing in their third consecutive finals, Knights’ experience saw them penned down as favorites for the title against their inexperienced opponents and debutants, SCN, who had surprised book makers by reaching the final in their maiden outing.
Despite their experience, Knights started slowly with their less illustrious opponents, the Foundation Ladies, dominating the opening half.
However, perhaps in a show of what champions are made of, Knights found a breakthrough from nowhere as Anita put them 1-0 ahead with a wonderful strike from 25 yards out.
Not deterred, SCN continued to probe the Knights goal, coming close to an equaliser twice. First, Knights’ defender, Judith, denied them with a superb goal saving tackle before Omoade lost her footing at a crucial time after she was put through on goal and with just Esther to beat.
Anita’s goal was the difference at the break, leaving SCN with more questions than they had answers for.
After the restart, the Foundation Ladies continued from where they stopped in first half, on the front foot.
But despite their dominance on the ball, their first real chance did not arrive until midway through the second half. Alhaja’s well struck low drive looked destined for the bottom left corner of the net before Esther excellently stretched to deny her with a one time save.
SCN came calling moments later and once again, Esther denied them, this time with her right leg.
There would be one last chance for the Foundation Ladies to at least find the leveler and take the game into extra time, but Johnson failed to keep her composure, blazing well over the bar from six yards.
Knights held on for the victory, becoming the most decorated side in the female league with their second crown in three seasons.
“I feel very very happy, I thank God, and [hope] for more of that” woman of the match (obviously), Esther, said after the match.
“I expected that [SCN will be difficult], I knew it would be a very hard game because they keep changing and bringing new faces,” she added.