NTAB FC, two time winners and 2021 runners – up in the Bolowotan Gold Cup, has proved that they deserved to be a seeded team in this year’s edition of the biggest football tournament in Ikorodu Division by coming from a goal down to beat their opponents, Ezego FC, 3 -1 in the opening match of the 14th edition of the competition.
The match, which was well attended, was played at the Police Barracks Playing Ground, Ikorodu, on Monday, February 7, 2022.
The tournament is organized by the Ikorodu Divisional Football association (IDFA) and being sponsored by Mr Oluwatoyin Gafaar Bolowotan, the Director – General, Lagos State Sports Commission.
While the NTAB FC (the home team) approached the match with all seriousness and strategic game plan, Ezego FC (the away team) players put up a strong defensive game which curtailed the rampaging attacks of the two – time winners of the tournament, while also occasionally attacking.
Ezego FC cautious play paid off in the 33rd minute of the first half when Olujimi Ibrahim (No. 15 jersey) calmly slotted a pass from his teammate into the net of NTAB,FC to put his team in the lead.
The goal, which caught NTAB FC unaware, propelled them to advance more with the aim of equalizing and scoring more goals but all their attacks were masterfully repelled by the Ezego FC defenders and their ever dependable goalkeeper who was at his best to preserve his team’s slim lead.
While the first half ended 0 – 1 in favour of Ezego FC, the second half witnessed much hostility from the NTAB FC players who were desperately looking for an equalizer but their opponents’ defense proved too strong to penetrate.
However, the breakthrough came for NTAB FC in the 62nd minutes when Oluwaseyi Johnson (No. 7 jersey) acted swiftly within the Ezego FC’s box 18 to slot home a rebound which was initially saved by the agile and ever attentive Ezego FC goalkeeper.
The second goal for NTAB FC came in the 72nd also from Oluwaseyi Johnson who converted a well – tailored pass from Tito (No. 11 jersey) who beat two Ezego FC defenders with a 360’ sharp turning that left them running after him but were unable to catch him before he cleverly passed the ball to Johnson who put it beyond the goalkeeper to put his team in control of the pulsating match.
After the second goal, NTAB FC dominated the match with more offensive play which again gave the team another opportunity as they were awarded a free – kick close to their opponents’s territory and was calmly converted in the 91st minutes to put the game beyond Ezego FC.
Meanwhile, Mr Adeleke lbiyeni, the NTAB FC Head Coach, speaking with THE IMPACT after the game, said that the substitutes that he made changed the game and gave his team the maximum three points.
“In the first half of the game as you can see, it was 40 -60 possession in favour of the opponents who took full advantage of the situation to take the lead as my boys couldn’t quite take control of the game in the game”, he recalled.
“But we came back in the second half to score three goals and we handled the opponents in a better way.
“The substitutions that we made changed the game. You can see that the game changed after the first substitution and subsequent substitutes made the game better for us”, he said.
He assured the club’s fans that his team will lift the Gold Cup for the third time this year.
“I had promised our fans that NTAB FC will lift the 14th edition of the Bolowotan Gold Cup. They should expect more from us”, he assured.
Agric Town FC will play against Greater Tomorrow FC in the first match of their group scheduled for Tuesday (today) while F.A Victory FC and Shola FC will play in the second match.