Head Coach of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) Edith Agoye has hailed his side’s last gasp 2-1 win away at Giant Brillars saying any other outcome would have derailed their chances of getting promoted to the top tier at the end of the season.
The Oluyole Warriors had traveled to Enugu on Saturday on the back of a disappointing draw at home to Abia Comets on Match Day 1 of the 2018/2019 Nigeria National League (NNL) season and needed a victory to get their season up and running.
Following a goalless first half and with the game looking likely to end in a stalemate, Opeyemi Olufemi popped up to put 3SC ahead in the 78th minute but when it looked like 3SC had the win wrapped up, referee Ogbomo Asosa awarded a penalty to the hosts in the 96th minute which was duly dispatched to level the match. The visitors had the last laugh however when Ahmed Rasheed somehow managed to snatch victory with virtually the last kick of the game to hand 3SC their first win in the league this season.
The manner of the victory was particularly pleasing for Agoye who felt his players showed character and proved their mettle in difficult circumstances.
“Normally when you play a game and you won, you’re always happy for having achieved your aim but in this situation, it’s a bit more than that. It was a situation where we had to pick the three points anything other than the three points would be the beginning of the confirmation of 3SC not getting promoted this season,” the former 3SC player told busybuddiesng.com.
“It was a difficult situation but we are very happy, we are very satisfied with the quality of the job we did in Enugu in order to secure the three points. And definitely, when you work very well and you see the results you’re always and I think the fans of shooting stars too are very happy at this moment. The hope of getting promotion is alive once again.”
The coach was not too enthused with the penalty awarded against his team, however. Taking great pains not to criticize the referee, Agoye, however, took issue with the length of additional time allowed and pointed out the “manner” of the penalty was “questionable” and that the call “tarnished” what was otherwise a stellar performance from the referee.
“First and foremost, I think you have to be prepared for all the eventualities if aim to take three points in any away game in Nigeria. The referee signified five minutes extra time so it was a big surprise that we played into the 96th minute and even at that the manner of the penalty was questionable.
“I’m not a referee, I cannot say if it was a clear penalty or not that is left for any referee assessor who was on ground, but I think at that time in point, the way the penalty was awarded I think it tarnished the good job the referee did all through the game because I have to be frank with you the referee was fair in every one of his decisions until that moment. The first decision was playing more than the 95 minutes he signified then the second one was giving such a penalty at that point in time.”
Agoye praised the character of his players to “respond immediately and turn the game around” and proclaimed that the manner of the victory will reinforce the spirit and belief of his players.
“Now going forward, I think that [our victory] has confirmed and reconfirmed what we believe in and we hope that having scaled through such a hurdle, it will be to our advantage at the end of the end.”