Ojo Tolulope’s header canceled out Haruna Salifu’s leveler as Bendel Insurance edged Gateway United 2-1 in the first game of the 2020/2021 NNL second stanza at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
Both teams started brightly, trying to create early chances in the first 15 minutes of a pulsating affair but clear-cut chances were hard to come by.
Good defending cum alertness of Araromi Ibukun expertly kept the hosts at bay after a surge of crosses and in-swingers in dangerous areas.
Eventually, in the 46th minute, the home side broke the deadlock as Bright Osas rose highest to nod in a freekick from the right-hand side of the box 18.
The Hakeem Busari tutored side came back stronger in the second half especially with the introduction of Odusina Olasunkanmi and Ebuka Okeke replacing Okolo Michael and Ikechukwu Julius.
In the 55th minute, the diminutive winger Sunkanmi got past his marker on the right flank, pulled in a cross but Seyi Okeowo agonizingly headed wide.
The well-deserved leveler came 10 minutes after as Haruna Salifu scored his third goal of the season, beating an offside trap to fire Seyi Okeowo’s cross into the roof of the net.
Ojo Tolulope then headed in a low cross in the 76th minute to give his side another lead, this time around, there was no coming back for the visitors as the hosts held on to the 2-1 scoreline.