Sporting Lagos Edges Niger Tornadoes in Controversial NPFL Clash
The game between Sporting Lagos and Niger Tornadoes ended in controversy as the away side put up a fight in Lagos.
●29th October 2023
There was excitement among the spectators at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena when newly-promoted Sporting Lagos defeated Niger Tornadoes in a hard-fought game in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). Sporting prevailed 2-1, but not before a controversial incident in the closing minutes of the match.
The game in the fifth week of the NPFL season had special significance for the home club, who needed to recover quickly after two disappointing results in a row. It was a tale of two halves, with Sporting winning the first and Niger Tornadoes putting up a valiant fight in the second half.
Sporting started out strong, as fan favorite Jonathan Alukwu scored in the thirtieth minute to give the home team an early lead by taking advantage of a close-range opportunity. Former Super Eagles striker Junior Lokosa gave Sporting an additional advantage shortly before halftime, giving them a fairly safe 2-0 lead.
Sporting Lagos 2-1 Niger Tornadoes
First half goals from Jonathan Alukwu and Junior Lokosa was enough for the Noisy Lagosians to fend off late fight backs from Ikon Allah Boys and return to winning ways under the floodlights in Lagos.#NPFLWithMIAS#NPFL24pic.twitter.com/MFeo5ZQzqu
The game drastically changed in the second half when the Niger Tornadoes, also known as the “Ikom Allah,” came out with newfound vigor and a goal that was crucial. Their perseverance paid off in the 67th minute when super-sub Yahuza Bala broke through Sporting’s defense to cut the deficit.
The goal gave the visitors motivation to go for an equalizer, and in the 80th minute, Bala scored again, giving the impression that they had succeeded. Bala and Sporting goalie Christian Nwoke had a one-on-one match after Tornadoes’ outstanding setup. Bala calmly chipped the ball into the net, setting up fireworks on the opposing bench.
Their celebration was short-lived, though, for the assistant referee signaled an offside and the goal was disallowed by raising the flag. Coach Paul, the players, and the team’s loyal supporters were relieved when the final whistle went because Sporting Lagos had held their own. Conversely, the Niger Tornadoes were left thinking about the crucial goal that was disallowed, dejected.
This is the second time Sporting Lagos are benefiting from an offside situation in two of the three home games.
There were tears and gnashing of teeth when they last played for a handball against Alimi despite a wrong call on Adams Olamilekan’s goal.
Fans and journalists have been debating the fairness of the controversial offside call and its effect on the outcome nonstop since it has become the main topic of conversation. Sporting Lagos, who had dropped points in their previous two games, turned things around and are now in seventh place in the league standings, with Niger Tornadoes in 12th place.
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