Vandrezzer FC overcome a bad pitch and an unwarranted red card to power an away stalemate against home side Delta Force in Match Day One of the 2020/21 Nigeria National League season.
The terrible pitch of Austin J.J. Okocha Stadium in Ogwashi Uku was one of the highlights of the game which also saw referee James Kalu award 15 minutes of added time at the end of the tie.
Delta Force started strongly with attackers Ekeme Osigwe hitting the upright and Emmnuel Ehizuo firing inches wide, both inside the first quarter of the game.
It took the brilliance of VFC goalkeeper Emeka Nwakamma and the defence prowess of the VFC back four, including a goal line clearance by Ekerete Udom, to see off some other onslaughts in the first half where the home side dominated.
The second half was much different as VFC came pressing, winning corner kicks and free kicks, one of which could've resulted in a goal from Ivo Júnior, but for the alertness of the Delta Force shot-stopper Henry Ani.
Both sides saw fresh injections into their squads in the second half, with Delta coach Augustine Chiwendu bringing on Bakare Hassan for Imo Ikemdinachi; Achi Augustine on for Soroibe Chigozie; Udealor Uchenna on for Abiola Oyeyemi; and Chima Deruo coming on for Ajibola Joel to add pressure on VFC.
While coach Rafael Everton replaced Lolo Christopher with Michael Nelson; Lawrence Effiong came on for captain Aberico Da Silva who had seen yellow; Amos Okoro for Ivo Júnior; and Babatunde Damilare for striker Kolawole Daniel.
Both teams came close to scoring in the final quarter of the game as both goalkeepers were made to work, especially VFC's Nwakamma whose first half knock troubled him all through the game. The new VFC signing continued with a slight shoulder injury which saw him attended to on several occasions.
There was late drama at the stroke of 90 minutes as midfielder Anietie Uko was shown a second yellow and resultant red card following a challenge for the ball with substitute Benjamin Edeh.
And after the fourth official displyed two additional minutes, centre referee James Kalu went on to add another thirteen extra minutes, before ending the tie.
The Lions take the away point into their first home fixture of the season against Nilayo FC of Abeokuta at the Soccer Temple Agege, on February 20, 2021.
Delta Force Vs Vandrezzer FC
Full time stats:
Goals : 0-0
Shots on goal: 6-2
Shots on Target: 3-2
Free kick: 28-22
Corner kick: 2-1
Red card: 0-1
What the coaches said:
Augustine Chiwendu - Delta Force Technical Adviser : "no coach would *be* excited about a draw at home, Vandrezzer came with a game plan and it was well executed. We will pick up the pieces and move on with the league. It's not in my place to talk about the pitch, I play anywhere that's allocated to my team. As for the officiating, it was fair enough."
Madaki Alfred - VFC Assistant Coach: "it was a tough game, and was even tougher because of the pitch. But as professionals, the boys put in a good fight and even if we failed to score, at least we didn't concede and that's a positive for us as we go home to prepare for our first home game next weekend."
Just like today's encounter, the VFC vs Nilayo match would be beamed LIVE on VFC TV to our global audience via the Vandrezzer mobile app, available for download on Google Play Store and Apple Store.
Vandrezzer FC...won't walk that road without you!