The Amazons moved a step closer to qualification for the super four of the Nigeria Women Football League with a 2-1 win over Osun Babes. Paulinus opened the scoring in the 39th minute through a beautifully curled freekick and even though the Osun based side equalised early in the second half via a penalty, another cool despatched freekick late in the second half saw us claim maximum points at the end of hostilities.
After a two-week break without a game, Coach Eucharia’s side were fresh and raring to go, and the Amazons boss made two changes from the side that drew Bayelsa Queens 1-1 as Monday Gift was restored to the starting lineup and Maduerosi given a starting berth in place of Anuruo. There was little goalmouth action of note in the early stages of the half, however, it was Osun Babes who posed the first real threat with a speculative effort which went over the bar.
Suddenly, the game sprung into life and noticeable was the urgency in our attacking play. Coach Eucharia was forced into an early change as Monday appeared to be in some discomfort and Adeola was on to replace her. Freekick on the edge of the box by Paulinus failed to meet the target and another aim from range by Joseph was a straight forward catch for the goal keeper.
We were beginning to get into our rhythm as we continued to create chances. Half-volley by Maduerosi was into the side netting and another well swung-in freekick by Paulinus was glanced wide by Ibadin. Despite the Amazons dominance, our final ball was too often found lacking but with 6 minutes to go into halftime, Paulinus broke the deadlock. Skilful run by Ikono was obstructed by an illegal challenge on the edge of the box and Paulinus was on hand to curl a fantastic freekick over the wall and into the top corner. The lead almost proved short-lived as Osun Babes almost equalised with a header from close range but we headed into the interval with the lead.
However, Osun Babes equalised against the run of play, ten minutes into the second half. A miscue by Ezor while trying to clear a deep ball from midfield fell for the visitors but in attempt to regain the lost ball hacked down the striker and the referee wasted no time in giving a penalty. Anthony calmly despatched the preceding kick, sending the keeper the wrong way. We immediately tried to respond with an attack of our own but Aweda’s ferocious drive was met with an equally outstanding save to beat the ball out for a corner.
We continued to knock on the door in search of a second and three times in quick succession, we came close. Two chances fell to the nifty Adeola but on both occasions she was unable to find the target while Aweda could not direct her header from a set-piece situation goal-ward It was wave after wave of attack on the opponents and our tenacity finally paid off; a second for Paulinus! No reward for guessing, it was via a freekick. The versatile right back who is fast becoming a set-piece specialist with four goals already via free-kicks bent an inch-perfect ball into the far corner after Aweda had been upended close to the box. It was no less than the Amazons deserved.
With just 7 minutes before stoppage time, the visitors huffed and puffed but could not find a way past Yese in goal as we saw out the game to claim another precious win at the Teslim Balogun stadium. Next up for the Amazons is an away trip to Edo Queens in the coming weekend.
C.O.D United Amazons XI: Francisca Yese, Ifeoma Paulinus, Bella Obioma, Hannah Ikono, Amaka Ezor, Mary Ibadin, Rofiat Aweda, Vera Maduerosi, Gift Monday, Ayowunmi, Omosuyi, Joseph Ogoma.
Subs: Chinenye Ibeh, Sylvia Moka, Chidinma Anuruo, Obillama, Omowodun Adeola, Oluchi Onah.
Osun Babes XI: Emaowodia Esther, Ogunniyi Shade, Abiodun Adedayo, Akpojotor Racheal, Elijah Esther, Iloduba Sarah, Edafe Mamuzo, Ossai Estgher, Waheed SuliaT, Edeh Loveth, Oke Yetunde.
Subs: Ezeani Ijeoma, Peter Grace, Anthony Esther, Yakubu Sarah, Ikoyo Rejoice, Nwando Faith.