Home Fact Check “Ogbonda’s Stunning Goal Secures Victory for Bendel Insurance in NPFL Opener”
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“Ogbonda’s Stunning Goal Secures Victory for Bendel Insurance in NPFL Opener”

Emex Henshaw

Federation Cup winners, Bendel Insurance, kicked off their Nigeria Premier Football League season with a triumphant start, defeating perennial rivals Shooting Stars for the first time in five years.

An own goal by Garli Farke of Shooting Stars in the eighth minute opened the scoring in the encounter at the Samson Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin. Garli Farke’s attempted clearance, under enormous pressure from the attack of the away side, found its way into the back of the net, resulting in a very disappointing start for Shooting Stars.

Bendel Insurance maintained the lead into halftime as they couldn’t breach the Oluyole Warriors’ defense. However, they suffered an injury blow when talisman Tamara Ezekiel had to be replaced by Kelly Kester.

Bendel Insurance struggled to assert themselves in the game as Shooting Stars began to create clear-cut chances, but they were thwarted by Amas Obasogie, the goalkeeper for Insurance. The unfolding events in the game prompted coach Monday Odigie of Bendel to make triple substitutions in the 72nd minute, with Jude Ebhohon, Vincent Augustus, and Paul Obatan making way for Austin Ogunye, Akpos Goodness, and Evans Ogbonda.

These substitutions proved crucial as Evans Ogbonda received a pass from Stanley Okorom, swiveled past two Shooting Stars players, and unleashed a thunderous shot from 25 yards into the back of the net, sending the home fans into ecstasy.

Evans’s goal eventually sealed the game for the Benin Arsenal and ensured there would be no repeat of the draws that characterized the meetings between both teams last season.

After the game, coach of Bendel Insurance Monday Odigie expressed his joy at securing all three points and praised his team’s ability to create and convert chances. However, he lamented the absence of key players due to injury, saying, “It was a tough game, and thank God we won. The side that converted their chances won. We are going back to work on areas where we had lapses.”

On the other hand, Gbenga Ogunbote, coach of Shooting Stars, expressed his disappointment at his team’s inability to convert the chances they created and voiced his displeasure at some of the calls made by the match officials.

Bendel Insurance will host former league champions Plateau United on Wednesday in Benin, while Shooting Stars will face Gombe United in Ibadan.

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