The final match of the the 2019 Wale Okediran football tournament is set to hold between the Phoenix and the Stalwarts after an intriguing and round of semifinal matches.
The Stalwarts defeated the Excelsiors, beating them three goals to nil in the first semifinal match which was played on Saturday 24th of August 2019. The match kicked off at 9:30 am at the training pitch 2. The first half of the game was balanced with both teams getting almost equal chances which they both failed to convert, and the first half ended goalless. However, on the start of the second half, Folarin the Stalwarts’ coach looked to his bench and brought in Japheth and Adelani. The two substitutes had an immediate impact as they both combined brilliantly to open the scoring. After about 5 minutes, the second goal came in but was disallowed as Japheth handled the ball in the 18 yards box before scoring. The Excelsior’s made a few substitutions but had no impact on the game as the Stalwarts kept pushing for a second goal. It came not quite long after Hamed made a solo run after receiving a pass from Adelani, and then dribbled 3 defenders and the goalkeeper to slot in the second goal. Not quite long, the Stalwarts broke on a counter attack and after a fine run from Adelani, he kicked the ball which ended up hitting the upright. At this time, the Excelsiors were already frustrated and were only trying not to make things worse by not conceeding more goals. At about the 70th minute, Snow received a second yellow and was sent off after giving Solomon a hard tackle and then made some unprofessional statements on the pitch. The third goal came in at about the 80th minute after the Excelsiors last defender deflected a cross which landed in front of sheriff who didn’t fail to convert the chance giving them the 3-0 lead. The game ended and the Stalwarts progressed to the final.
The second semifinal match on the other hand ended 4-2 with the Phoenix coming out victorious. The match kicked off at about 4:30 pm on Sunday at the training pitch 2. The first half produced few chances. The Phoenix had more chances and opened the scoring in the 23rd minute from a rebound of a blocked freekick. The Exypnos Medicos failed to register a shot on target in the first half despite having more attempts. However, on the start of the second half, the Exypnos Medicos seemed to have woken up from their slumber and they got the equalizer in the 47th minute after Toluwani fired in an outside shot to the right corner of the post. In the 50th minute, the Exypnos Medicos were awarded a penalty after a Phoenix’s defender handled the ball in the 18 yards box. A.Y stepped up to take the penalty and did that beautifully giving the Exypnos a 2-1 lead early in the second half. At about the 60th minute, the Phoenix grabbed an equalizer after the Exypnos Medicos failed to clear their lines from a set piece, leading to the rebound which Ife placed in the top right corner of the post. About 5 minutes later, the Phoenix were awarded a penalty after Steve the Exypnos Medicos goalkeeper fouled an attacker in the 18 yards box. Obaro took the penalty well and restored the Phoenix’s lead. The fourth goal came in the 86th minute after the Phoenix broke on a counter attack and the attacker took the shot from the right side of the box 18 which Steve pushed into Ife’s front who calmly scored the goal that sealed the victory. Although the goal was controversial as there was doubt whether Ife was in an offside position or not, the goal still stood. The match ended and the Phoenix progressed into the final for the 5th time consecutively.
They Stalwarts would be hoping to win the trophy this time after suffering a early exit last year. The Phoenix who are playing their very last wale Okediran competition and would definitely not want to lose their final chance to lift the trophy. The final will be played at the Obafemi Awolowo University Sports complex, Mainbowl on the 20th of September 2019.

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