Bendel Insurance FC narrowly escaped upset and embarrassing home defeat on Saturday, as Ismael Sarki’s late goal salvaged the Benin Arsenals’ ship from wreckage in the Nigeria Premier Football League Match Day Nine clash with Kwara Utd at the Samuel Ogbemisia Stadium, in Benin City.
The Harmony Boys had taken the lead in the 14th minute of play through Sadeeq Yusuf, who took advantage of Stanley Okorom lapses in the right back of Insurance defence and curled his low shot into the right corner of the net.
In the 27th minute of play, Insurance ever busy defensive midfielder Stephens Sodje picked up a loose ball and fired a long range rocket from 25 yards which beat Kwara goalie Adeyinka Adewale to level up the scoreline for the Benin Arsenals.
The goal however earned Sodje Stephens Man of the Match Award, presented by Comrade Festus Alenkhe, chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo state.
Insurance looked to have returned into the game with Sodje’s confidence boosting screamer, but their command did not last long before Godwin Oshagbemi capitalized on another defensive error by Stanley Okorom on the rightback to give Kwara the lead again in the 38th minute of the tension soaked game.
Insurance went into recess at halftime deflated while the Harmony Boys on the other hand enjoyed the 2-1 advantage, going into the changing room.
Bendel Insurance came into the second half better, as Coach Monday Odigie made quick substitutions, introducing Kelly Oahimijie, Raymond Ikhenoba and Evans Ogbonda for injured Tamara Ezikiel, Chisom Okereke and Haruna Abubakar to strengthen the home team which worked.
The Benin Arsenals effortlessly attacked Kwara’s side in the second half and remained dominant for the large part of the last part.of the .
Expectedly, Kwara United employed delay tactical style to kill the game as they resorted to time-wasting tactics,. Their Goalkeeper Adeyinka Adewale, tried feigning injury often.and was later rewarded with yellow card from the referee.
With the six minutes extra time added to the 90 minutes drifting away, Sarki Ismael followed a flicked pass from Sodje Stephens to beat Kwara offside trap in the 93rd minute and headed home the lifesaving equalizer for Insurance to tie the game at 2-2.
It was the second home draw for Bendel Insurance after Akwa Utd goaless draw in the week five fixture.
The Benin Arsenals are set to face Enyimba FC on Wednesday, in the rescheduled match day one fixture.
Insurance were not available to honour the week one match in Aba due to their continental engagement when the season kicked off.
Insurance will be off to Kano for the Match Day 10 clash with Kano Pillars by next weekend.
Insurance FC are currently at the middle of the table with 13 points from eight matches.
In a post match interview, Coach Monday Odigie of Bendel Insurance FC said that the home draw was not the result he wanted but was happy that his boys fought back well to avoid defeat at home.
On the call up of their first choice Goalkeeper Amas Obasogie to the Super Eagles, coach Odigie said though they missed the services of Obasogie but that the team is not built around one player. He added that David Obiazor is a good goalkeeper despite conceding two goals in the match.
Kwara Utd coach Kabir Dogo on the other hand said his boys played very well but that have themselves to blame for allowing the equalizer in the last minutes. He added that they will learn from the avoidable mistake going forward.