Bendel Insurance make home bow in NPFL with a disappointing draw against Kwara United

By Nelson Dafe, Benin City on January 24, 2019

Views: 505

A particular definition describes ‘anticlimax’ as ‘when, at a specific point, expectations are raised, everything is built-up, and then suddenly something boring or disappointing happens. For the thousands of supporters of newly promoted NPFL Club Bendel Insurance of Benin City who had trooped out in their thousands to was their club make their home bow in the top flight of the Nigerian League after about a decade out in the second tier league, it certainly felt like an anticlimax as the team labored to a 0-0 draw against visiting Kwara United FC of Ilorin in their second game of the season. 

The feelings of expectations amongst Insurance fans was built up all the more prior to the game, played on Wednesday 24 January at the United Sports complex in the West of Benin City,  by the impressive 1-1 away draw Insurance had played in their first game against Remo Stars. So it was that the main bowl of the complex was almost filled to capacity as kick off approached on a sunny Benin City afternoon. 

Kwara United had the better of the opening minutes as they appeared the more composed and mature side. They moved the ball around beautifully and caused Insurance some problems with good off-the-ball runs. But the first real chance of the match fell to Insurance when a cross from the left was missed by inches from being reaching the head of on-, rushing striker Junior Osaghae in the goalmouth of the visitors. 

Insurance began to settle afterwards and looked to pile pressure on Kwara with a series of long balls. 

In fact this was the general game plan of Insurance and it frustrated their fans who had hoped for more entertaining football. The tactical script of Insurance seemed to be either the goalkeeper gets the ball and hoofs it long and high forward or he passes it to a central defender who hoofs it long and high hoping an attacker would flick for another attacker to run in to and score. But the Kwara defenders were no slouches. They are physically imposing men at the back and they dealt finely with most of the long balls thrown their way. 

Insurance thought they had scored late in the game when another long ball resulted in a goalmouth scramble and a shot inside the 6-yard box from Osaghae but the referee correctly ruled offside. 

The final whistle was followed by a subdued exit of the fans from the complex with some voicing their displeasure. 

One fan said: “This was really a dull game. I would rather see Insurance play entertainment football and lose than watch this kind of game. I'm disappointed.”

It can be argued in favor of Insurance that fatigue could have been a factor in the listless display of the team against Kwara. The players have just finished a long NPL season followed by a Super 8 tournament from which they gained promotion. 

Another fan weighed in thus: “At home it’s hard to play good football in the Nigerian league where the pressure to win is very high. Kwara played better today because as the visiting team they were under less pressure.”

Whatever the case, Insurance would need to be better than they were against Kwara to stand a chance of retaining their status in the top flight and not having to face the ignominy of dropping back to where they've been in the past decade. 



Source Daily Sports

Posted January 24, 2019


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