Valiant FC 1 - 1 Real Sapphire
Valiant, Real Sapphire share spoils in season opener
The Onikan Stadium in Lagos was the venue of the 2023/2024 season match day one encounter between Valiant and Real Sapphire.
Valiant played host to the league debutants with the hope of beginning the new season on a winning note. Both teams went for it but it finished in a stalemate in the end.
It was the visitors who flew out of the blocks early and pressed for the game’s opening goal but the Brave boys’ defence stood strong to thwart the danger.
Real Sapphire’s Ayodele Olawale was causing Abdulazeez Abubakar all sorts of problems on the right side of Valiant’s defence, but the former was wasteful with his chances. At the other end, Valiant threatened to get going through Olaniyan Gafar but the winger was denied by goalkeeper Ali Sunday.
However, moments later Sunday was sent off for a cynical and reserve goalkeeper Demehin Remilekun came in to take his place in goal, while left back Chogbata Patrick was sacrificed.
With the numerical advantage, Valiant eventually got the game’s opening goal when Gafar toe-poked a loose ball in the Real Sapphire box into the bottom right corner. It was the half’s only goal.
The visitors stepped things up after the break, and they got their equalizer after a defensive mix-up in the box of Valiant as Yusuf Ibrahim reacted quickly to bury the ball into an unguarded net.
In a bid to change the dynamics of the game, Valiant resorted to patient build up but they couldn’t break the defensive shape of the visitors. Later on, Remilekun denied Valiant defender Salihu Zakari from the spot to ensure the spoils were shared.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Yusuf Ibrahim (Real Sapphire)
The forward worked his socks off in the game. He started as a striker but ended in midfield to help his pick an opening day point and the goal was a reward for his efforts.