Monday, March 22, 2010

Drama Trails Ill-tempered Port Harcourt Derby

Before last Saturday’s Port Harcourt derby between Sharks Football Club and Dolphin Football Club, there was a lot of pre-match antics by fans of the two clubs that preceded the big game.
During the week before last Saturday, fans of Sharks and Dolphin were said to have nearly engaged themselves in a fight before the intervention of security operatives.
However, the situation did not change on matchday, as the Rivers State Football Association in a bid to avert any unforeseen occurrence made sure that fans of the two clubs were not allowed to share the same sitting arrangement inside the Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt.
In fact, different entrance and exit were arranged for the supporters of the two clubs before and after the game to avoid any clash before and after the match.
However, the match was still characterized by so much drama on the field of play, as the visiting side, Dolphin, refused to use the dressing room in the Sharks Stadium.
It was a case of fear of the unknown by the officials and players of Dolphin, which was second best for larger parts of the derby in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
Even the match officials refused to go into the dressing room in the ill-tempered game.
But Dolphin would be causing its luck and blaming the referees for failing to heed to its penalty shouts on two occasions.
First Owusu Addai appeared to be clear on goal after he dribbled Sharks’ goalkeeper, Okiemute Odah, but he was upended inside the box but centre referee, M.A. Mohammed, saw nothing wrong.
It was the turn of former Golden Eaglets’ ace, Abduljeleel Ajagun, to be denied a spot kick after he was wrestled down by a Sharks’ defender.
Just six minutes after the hour-mark, Sharks was awarded a penalty and goalkeeper Odah, who has been Sharks’ spot kick specialist, could only shoot straight into the waiting hands of his opposite number, Sunday Rotimi.
With pressure cranking on the referee on 95 minutes, he awarded another penalty to the home side and Gomo Onduku’s effort was saved by Rotimi’s left-handed parry and Onduku missed the chance of rifling home the rebound.
Outside the pitch, attempts were made by fans of the home fans to seize video facilities of television stations and Dolphin crew.
However, the referee was escorted off the pitch at the end of the game, as fans of Sharks threatened to pounce on him in spite of awarding their team two penalties.

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