An exceptional performance, including a last-minute penalty save by C.O.D United Amazons goalkeeper, Francisca Yese ensured the Amazons left the Osogbo Township Stadium with a good result.
The Amazons proved that they are heading in the right direction under Coach Eucharia Uche after a trend of good results stemming from last week’s home League win against Tokas Queens, a place in the quarterfinals of the Federations Cup as well as a gritty and organised performance against a tough Osun Babes side. We picked up a point in a very even contest and were excellent in defence throughout the game with a perfect pairing of Ezor and Ibadin.
Eucharia’s side set up tactically with a number of changes to the side that started the previous league game against Tokas Queens. Ifeoma Paulinus was switched to the right-back position while Chidima Anuruo and Tejiri Edward were restored to the starting lineup. Chiwendu Anomo and Beauty Odelehwu did not travel with the team.
The first half was rather cagey – with both sides struggling to enjoy a long period of time on the ball. Chances were also limited for both sides. Throughout the first half, we were pressing highly and not allowing Osun babes much time on the ball.
The first real chance fell to us in the 16th minute when Monday was upended close to the box. Paulinu’s freekick was on target but saved by the goalkeeper. We also came close to scoring the opener through Monday who was sent through on goal by Omosuyi only to be flagged offside on attempting to score. Osun Babes’ first effort on goal was a long range shot from the right side of attack which was excellently palmed out by Yese. The home side threatened ten minutes later with Elijah who was clean on goal and tried to lob the ball over the keeper but Joseph was quick enough to clear the goal-bound effort out for a corner.
The second half started very similar to the first half with both teams struggling to take control of the game.
It was Osun Babes who had the first effort of the second half. A free-kick in the 51st minute was rountinely saved by Yese. However, we began to dominate proceedings from then on. A free-kick by Paulinus on the right side of attack was gathered on second attempt by Emaowodia.
There were penalty claims by the Amazons when Monday was sent into some channel of space on the right and the nifty attacker beat her marker with some trickery but was felled in the process in the box. Only a corner kick was awarded by the referee. The striker was also on the wrong side of a controversial call by the referee when she was one on one with the goalkeeper only for a free-kick to be given against her for allegedly raising her foot while trying to beat the last defender in the process.
Minutes later, the referee was at the centre of another controversial call against the Amazons when she immediately pointed to the spot in what looked like simulation from the Osun Babes striker. Yese however summed up an outstanding evening with a big penalty save as we hung on to a very crucial point away from home.
The Amazons boss will take a lot of positives from this performance and one that we can build on in subsequent games of the season as we eye qualification for the Women Super League.
Osun Babes starting line-up: Emaowodia Esther, Ogunniyi Shade, Adiodun Adedayo, Akpojotor Racheal, Elijah Esther, Ajibade Agnes, Oyelade Aina, Ikoyo Rejoice, Afanigideh Blessing, Iloduba Sarah, Edafe Mamuzo.
Subs: Imafidon Faith, Peter Grace, Inaheed Suliat, Olukoya Kehinde, Adeusi Alaba, Oriretan Shayo, Jejeola Esther.
C.O.D United Amazons starting line-up: Yese Francisca, Imoh Paulinus, Bella Obioma, Hanna Ikono, Ezor Amaka, Ibadin Mary, Edward Tejiri, Ayo Omosuyi, Anoruo Chidinma, Monday Gift, Ogoma Joseph.
Subs: Chinenye Ibeh, Anoruo Chiwendu, Oshobukola Omowunmi, Uchegbu Chidinma, Obillama Gloria, Maduegbu Chinenye, Sylvia Moka.