Niger Flickers strive in the belly of the beast

Match day 2 in the mens group continued with mouth-watering clashes as Trustees earned first win with Niger flickers and GRA picking up vital points. Ghana’s trustees played Nigeria’s police machine in the first match of the day. The match which was a meeting of domestic league runners-up as they both sought their first win in the competition.

Talismanic Johnny Botsio got the entire stadium cheering as he put Trustees in front from a penalty corner in the 13th minute. It was the second penalty corner in succession and Botsio scored with a drag flick into the top right corner after goalkeeper Sani Almustapha had parried the first attempt. The first quarter came ended with Trustees all smiles.

Police Machine came strong in the second quarter and created lots of chances but failed to convert. The home crowd were taken through heart breaking moments as the Nigerians mounted pressure. Tettey Francis with a fine solo effort going past three defenders, increased the tally for the home side. The second goal added more confidence to the Trustees side as they went in search for more goals. Their efforts paid off in the 55th minute when Rahman Anum scored to make it 3-0. Police machine were left frustrated and down spirited after losing their second successive match.

Match day one winners El Sharkia of Egypt and Niger Flickers faced off in the second match. The egyptian champions were poised and eager to make it two wins in two matches with the Nigerian champions ready to spoil the party.

El Sharkia mounted pressure on Flickers from the umpires whistle blast but the likes of Adamu Kollo in defence for Flickers ensured the game was still barren. Kelvin Linus on the other hand proved a threat for the Sharkia defence with his tricky runs and perfect stick work. El sharkia thought they had gone in front in the 29th minute when awarded a penalty stroke. Yakubu Aliyu in post for Niger Flickers prevented skipper Ibrahim Sameer form getting on the score sheet. With the game still barren, the Egyptians started showing signs of frustration with the aggressive play of the flickers.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 39th minute when Gobran Hossam made a solo run into the ‘D’ before hitting past Aliyu in post with a reverse stroke to put El Sharkia in front.

Bernard Wilson levelled the scoreline for Niger Flickers with a penalty stroke in the 52nd minute. Time was running for both teams but El Sharkia won their second penalty stroke after Sham Sudeen prevented Moahmed Aly’s shot at goal with his foot. Moahmed Essam steeped up this time to take instead of skipper Sameer who had missed one earlier. Essam sending goalkeeper Aliyu to the wrong way, watched his flicked effort hit the post to the admiration of the entire flickers team. Game ended 1-1.

Speaking to isports360 after the game, Coach Nuhu of Flickers said, “the last penalty stroke was a wrong call and that shows how bad the officiating was. We could have won this game but luck wasnt on our side. We are on course after our first two games but it’s still a long journey to the final”.

Ghanaian champions GRA hosted eastern company in the final game for match day 2. The stadium was filled to capacity as the spectators came in their numbers to support the home team. Eastern Company almost silenced the entire stadium in the 13th minute when Ibrahim Amr’s, drag flicked, penalty corner almost found its way to the top right corner of Acheampong’s goal post.

Ashifie Prince sent the entire stadium into rapturous mood when he scored in the 41st minute to put GRA in the lead. The goal sparked life into GRA as they mounted pressure on eastern company but failing to convert the many chance created.

The moment of silence came in thhe 50th minute when El Badry Mahmoud equalised from a penalty stroke. GRA played their hearts out in the final 10 minutes in search of the match winner but luck was not on their side as time run out before they could score. The goal did not stand since the final whistle had gone. The game ended with both teams sharing the points.