By Victor Chijioke
On Tuesday, the MCSA male football team secured a convincing 2-0 victory over its opponents from the Building Department in its first match of the inaugural edition of the Departmental Champions League (DCL). Goals from Izekor Gifted and Lawal-Akapo Basit, both ICE students in 300- and 200-level, helped the team start as leaders of its four-team group in the 16-team invitation-based tournament between selected departments in the University of Lagos.
The thrilling, albeit short, encounter started at about 6:18 p.m. on the day. In a clash that was both fast-paced and end-to-end, the MCSA boys dominated the 30-minute game as they created more chances and were more threatening in front of goal than their opponents, who barely mustered a couple of half chances and, ultimately, had no shot on goal.
In the first ten minutes of the first fifteen-minute-half, both teams jostled to gain control of the game as they charged up and down the pitch, each side attempting to get ahead early. The early attempts were futile, even though the boys in white shirts and shorts from the Building Department made more menacing forward runs in the opening stages. MCSAsites, on their part, playing from left to right of the spectator stand in the first half, struggled to make accurate passes to the attackers in the team and seemed to be worse off in their forward runs.
However, things changed for MCSA a few minutes before the tenth when they scored the first goal. Decisive play from the midfield to the forwards saw better-attacking play from the boys in grey shirts and black shorts which led to the tenth-minute goal.
After a flurry of passes yards from the opposition goal, a shot played by one of the MCSA attackers was spilt by the Building goalkeeper, and Izekor Gifted was well positioned to tap the ball into the net after the goalie’s failed attempt to recover it. The MCSAites then dominated for the rest of the half.
One goal down at the close of the first half, the second fifteen-minute half saw the Building team make some moves to close the deficit; they played the ball long to their forwards and tried to be quicker and more effective on the counter-attack. But all these were foiled by the resolute defence of the MCSAites.
As the boys in white shirts and shorts pressed forward to make their efforts count, the boys in grey shirts and black shorts continued to threaten their goal. One such evidence of the threat to the Building defence was a volley towards the top left corner of the goalpost by Olatunde Jerry (200 level full-time) from yards out, which was parried by Building shot-stopper Temitope Olayemi for a corner-kick.
Towards the end of the match, however, the Building defence broke down in the team’s desperate search for a goal. As they now played from the left to the right of the spectator stand, the goal was eventually scored in their net after a swift counter-attacking break led to a shot to the top right corner of their net by Lawal-Akapo Basit after a pass from Olatunde Jerry.
“We played a good game yesterday against Building,” Boluwatife Odueke, 400-level student and coach of the MCSA team, said to UNILAGSun after the match. “Although the time was not enough, I think we made good use of the time that we had… It was getting quite late, so we did what we had to do at that time, and I’m very proud of the boys.
“It was a difficult match, but we went there expecting a victory, and we came out with one,” he concluded.
The MCSA team is gunning for the 100,000 cash prize in the first edition of the Departmental Champions League organized by the Architecture Department. They play Electrical and Electronic Engineering in their next match on Wednesday and hope to continue the form that brought this 2-0 win.