A clinical finish by Olalekan Abdulsalam against home side Campos FC of Owerri on Saturday afternoon, was enough to secure our first three points on the road this season. 

How it happened

Coach Henry Makinwa fielded the same starting line-up from last weekend’s win over Giant Brillars in Lagos. A 4-3-3 formation including goalkeeper Obinna Akuchie; defenders Bassey Odiong, Ibrahim Owolabi, Samuel Edoho and Oloye Felix; midfielders Fawas Otun, Isaac Saviour, Kabiru Popoola; and attackers Olalekan Abdulsalam, Uwem Charles and Gideon Monday. 

The first half had no goal to report, but the opening minutes were dominated by intentions of the home side to seek their pound of flesh from the defeat suffered in Lagos on Matchday 10 of the NNL. The Campos attackers where all over in the opening stages but met the resistance from the likes of our midfielders Fawas and Kabiru as well as the central defense pairing of Bassey and Owolabi. 

VFC would later take control of the game midway through the half with Gideon and Lekan both making incursions, firing the Campos defense to be extremely busy. The mesmerizing skills of Saviour were on display as well, and the fans at the Dan Anyiam stadium were generally thrilled to good football artistry from the champions of Lagos.

Centre referee Anthony Ogar would later signal for half time after three additional minutes. 

The Lions came into the second half the more determined side, with run after run, and quick recoveries of the ball when lost. Indeed the 60-40 possession rating in favour of VFC stemmed from their dominance in the second installment of the game. 

In the 57th minute, they were almost rewarded for this dominance after Gideon dribbled Campos defender Uche Ugonna, but the attacker slipped and the ball rolled off for a throw in. 

The episode had a second part when Uche, who stepped up to take the throw for Campos, intentionally stepped on Gideon’s leg. Referee Ogar fortunately caught the incident and immediately issued a yellow card, to mark the first of few more bookings in the game. 

Few minutes later, VFC’s Obinna was called to duty when the home side almost opened scoring. A pass from Campos right back MacDonald found attacker Igwe Ikenna who first beat Fawaz Otun and then drove into the Lions’ 18 yard box, before taking a powerful shot which was punched out to safety by Obinna. 

That probably was Fawas’ only blip in the entire duration of the game, as the midfielder was both excellent ball supplier and ball rescuer for VFC in the encounter. Not surprising, he was later voted Man of The Match by his fellow teammates and journalists present at the Dan Anyiam Stadium. 

The deadlock was finally broken after 67 minute, off a corner kick delivered by full back Oloye Felix. 

The kick first met a header to the right post by Olalekan which was punched away by the Campos goalie. The April Player Of The Month immediately pounced on the ball again via another header to the same angle, but this time the goal keeper had no answer to it, especially haven not recovered from his first save. It was Olalekan’s 5th goal,  joining Saviour and Edoho as VFC joint top scorers this season. 

Olalekan had another opportunity in the 79th minute when he got in a one-on-one situation with the Campos shot-stopper, but his shot went inches wide off the post. 

Five minutes later, Saviour almost got his 6th of the season when his well struck free kick met a save, moments after Olalekan was brought down 35 yards from goal. 

The Lions held for the remainder of the encounter which includes five added minutes, showing grit, character and purpose, to eventually seal the well deserved victory. 

“The boys fought hard and deserved this win. To get a first away win for the season is a great feeling. We will celebrate a tonight, then tomorrow turn our focus on Ekiti next” said an excited coach Henry Makinwa. 

What it means

The win marked a double over Campos FC; our first win on the road this season; and a climb up to third place on the Group B1 table, with 7 points below the table toppers. 

Up Next

The Lions return home to welcome Ekiti United who benefitted from a penalty to pip VFC at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in April. Follow build-up to the May 27th meeting via all our social media platforms and website 


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