Playoffs have a hash way of deciding the realities of a tournament. This league has not been an exception. “In Nigeria, it is called knockout,” said one of the spectators.
Knockout is the decisive stage of the tournament where teams pay huge costs for even the smallest of their mistakes.
Today, at the University Park, “many goal chances were created and even many more were lost. But those who managed to convert their own chances turned out to be the dominant teams in the field of play,” said one of the officials.
At 8:00am, it was a big contest between Love FC and Peace FC. Most fans had anticipated a walk over in favour of Love FC. In fact, who could have blamed the fans given that Love FC dominated the regular season with a total of 13 points on the league table?
“Peace FC is for sure the underdog,” said a Peace fan.
And as they say in sports, competitions have their own inexplicable ways of favouring the underdogs.
When Love opened up a 1-0 lead shortly after the start of the first half, many fans expected that the game was going to continue that way with many more goals in favour of Love.
How they were wrong!
Peace FC turned things around in the second half and ended up finishing the game ahead with a 3-1 victory.
The second game went ahead as planned at 9:30am. It was between Faith FC and Joy FC. In the two previous encounters between these two teams during the regular season, Joy FC defeated Faith FC by 5-3 each time.
“Faith FC is clearly the underdog in today’s encounter,” a Faith fan said.
As the game went on, Faith was the first to convert a chance. Shortly after that, Joy equalized. By the end of the second half, the two teams had a 2-2 draw.
The first half of the extra time saw no goals. But during the second half of the extra time, Faith managed to pull ahead with one goal. In spite of all the pressure from Joy, Faith maintained that one-goal lead until the final whistle. The game ended 3-2 in favour of Faith FC.
Recall that on the regular league table, Love was first with 13 points, Joy was second with 9 points, Faith was third with 7 points, while Peace was last with 6 points.
The knockout stage has flipped the table.
Faith and Peace will meet in the final on Saturday, August 13th at the University Park. In the words of one of the spectators, “one of them will be the real champion.”
Before the final game next weekend, Love and Joy will contest for the third position on the same day.