By Sedara Philip
Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin,were today forced to a 1-1 draw by Shooting Stars FC of Ibadan in the Match Day 17 of the Nigeria Premier Football League(NPFL).
The first half of the match,played at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, Benin had ended goalless with Insurance FC missing clear chances to be in front before halftime break whistle.
The Benin Arsenals manager Monday Odigie made double substitution on return to the field for the remaining half, pulling out Deputy Echeta and Zaidu Ayuba for Babatunde Ogungbe and Saturday Meelubari in the 48th minute to add bite to his attack.
Monday Odigie tactical switch paid off in the 62nd minute of game when Sarki Ismael put Insurance FC in front with a classy header, following Efe Enabulele’s trademark curled pass from the right flank.
It was when Insurance FC home fans thought that their darling team will finish their last home game with maximum three points in their bag. that Sikiru Alimi equalized for the visitors in the 85th minute of play, following Insurance goalkeeper’s error.
Insurance FC goalie Amas Obasogie went for an aerial contest for a catch but his gloves could not get a firm grip of the ball, losing the ball to anxious Sikiru Alimi who quickly tapped in to level up for Shooting Stars.
The stalemate however did not affect the Benin Arsenals chance of
qualifying for the league ending Super Six playoffs.
Insurance FC remained unbeaten and leaders of group A of the abridged league with 33 points after 17 games.
Bendel Insurance FC are the only team that has not tasted defeat in the current football season and have continued to show their determination to finish the season well.
The Benin Arsenals will be playing their last match in the regular season against already relegated Nasarawa Utd in Jos.
Meanwhile,Bendel Insurance FC have been paired against Ahudiya FC of Abia state in the 2023 Federation Cup round of 32. The round of 32 match is scheduled to hold on Wednesday,May 10 in Calabar.