The bid of Shooting Stars Sports Club, 3SC, of Ibadan to escape relegation from the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, is looking good as a 76th minute goal from Abu Azeez earned the club a draw against Rangers International on Sunday evening at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium, Enugu.
In week 28 tie of the NPFL, Rangers petit striker, Godwin Aguda had capitalized on goalkeeper Charles Tambe’s error to jab in after a corner kick by the homers on the 29th minute mark.
Before the error, the Cameroonian international goalkeeper had made some daring saves from rampaging quartet of Bobby Clement, Godwin Aguda, Chiamaka Madu and Bright Silas whose runs kept our defence line on their toes.
The goal notwithstanding, Shooting Stars threw in the trio of Ajani Ibrahim, Abu Azeez and Nonso Mbakwe to poke the opponents area with occasion incursions.
Also, pulling the strings were Shile Adebayo and Ayobami Junior from the midfield.
Their efforts forced some defensive errors in Rangers vital areas but no goal. That was the situation until the time for recess.
On resumption of the second half, Rangers mounted more pressure to double their lead but Tambe Charles and his covers were resolute.
3SC’s Moses James on one occasion had to come in for a timely clearance to safety after Itoya’s solo effort left Osawe, Samuelson and Omololu on his trail.
Rangers FC changed Bobby Clement for Omoh Johnson and Godwin Aguda for Ifeanyi George to sustain the tempo with more daring incursions and more free kick advantages.
However, the tide changed when Olukokun Najeem came in for Nonso Mbakwe on 60′. His change added more pep into our attacking bites with glaring control of the game.
Merenini Junior came in for Ibrahim Shile Adebayo and his third time involvement saw him beating two defenders from the left with a final pass rightly connected into the net via a powerful volley by Abu Azeez.
The scoreline was even at 1-1 and the coaches brought in defensive conscious Adebayo Abayomi to replace Ajani Ibrahim in a bid to protect the precious equalizer until the final whistle.
While speaking with 3SC online in his post match interview, Shooting Stars Technical Adviser – Fatai Amoo was philosophical and credited the result to hard work and good fortune. “My boys worked for it and I appreciate their fighting spirit. But the battle is still on”. He went further that his team “must keep working and keep our head up while thinking about our next match”.
His counterpart from Rangers International Chukwuma Agbo blamed his wards for not converting their chances. He told 3SC Media that “we expected Shooting Stars to give a good fight. We learnt our lessons by dropping two points in the encounter”.
Shooting Stars goal scorer Abu Azeez was happy he got his first goal for the team which also proved vital to the team relegation survival. He went further that “the goal really boosts my reason for joining the team, helping to survive the drop and gladdens the heart of our teeming fans”.