It was a star performance from 2021 Optima Energy Gold Cup runner-up Shooting Stars as they thrashed Beyond Limits in a five-goal thriller at the FC Ebedei Stadium in Sagamu.
Niger Tornadoes on its part had to wait till the opening minute of the second half to find the back of Gateway FC’s goal, to claim their first 3points at the Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne.
The opening two fixtures of the Optima Energy Gold Cup, had six goals recorded from the two venues, with Akpan Joshua of Shooting Stars scoring the first hat-trick of the 10th edition of the preseason tournament.
It was a game of two halves in Sagamu as Beyond Limits went into the break with the lead, while the Oluyole Warriors took advantage of the Nationwide League One side minute of carelessness in the second half, to score four goals with Akpan Joshua taking home the match ball.
Beyond Limits gave Shooting Stars a scare in the opening 10 minutes, hitting the woodwork twice but couldn’t punish the NPFL side for its sloppy defending.
The Oluyole Warriors were later pegged back after Ebenezer Akinsanmiro scored the first goal of the tourney with a cool finish at the half-hour mark.
Shooting Stars started the comeback five minutes into the second half with Isaac Afolabi making it one apiece for both teams.
Afolabi’s goal was the tonic 3SC needed, as they were in the driving seat till the end of the game.
Two minutes later the Oluyole Warriors doubled their lead via Akpan Joshua with a strike from a well-struck free kick at the edge of the Beyond Limits box.
Akpan then made it 3-1 and his brace with a thunderous strike from 30yards in the one-hour mark. He then completed the goal rout with his third within 15 minutes, from the spot kick after he was hacked in the box.
In the Tornadoes and Gateway FC fixture, the 2019 Optima Energy Gold Cup champions had to sweat it out to beat the NNL side.
After a goalless first half, it appeared that Coach Abubakar Bala half time pep talk was the spur his Ikon Allah boys needed, as in the 50th minute, Hamza Mohammed got the needed goal off an assist from Musa Wakili.
Shooting Stars now have a date to keep with Gombe United on Saturday while Tornadoes host new boys Hammola FC on Friday.