The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for the first time in this modern era has two clubs from the Centre of Excellence, Lagos State – Mountain of Fire Ministries FC (MFM FC) and Ikorodu United.
Both sides finally brought back top-flight football to the state after a 16-year absence.
With the first clash ending in a barren stalemate, all eyes were at the Agege Stadium on Sunday for the second Lagos Derby.
MFM FC emerged 3-1 victors, thanks to goals from Sikiru Olatubosun, Stephen Odey and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi with Fatai Abdullahi grabbing a consolation for the guests.
Here are five high points from that nail-biting clash.
- Governor Ambode’s presence
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led the roll-call of dignitaries present at the game. He was joined by Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; Member, House of Representative from Ikorodu, Jimi Benson; Lagos FA Chairman and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) 1st Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, and Special Adviser to the Governor on Sports, Deji Tinubu.
- Massive turnout
Apart from the extraordinary presence of Ambode, a mammoth crowd turned up for the clash. The stadium of around 5,000 spectators was well exceeded to the amazement of the Governor.
“I have no doubt that sports can partner the economy for a better development of the country,” Ambode said.
“If you look around and see the number of people that watched the match, you will know what I am talking about.”
- Fair officiating
One major downside of the NPFL in recent times has been its officiating. But at the Agege Stadium, the Lagos Derby witnessed a very fair officiating despite two penalties being awarded to both sides. It’s also worthy of note that one of the assistant referees in the high profile encounter was a lady.
- Entertaining display
What other way to mark a fierce derby than with wonderful football being played on the pitch? The build-up to the game was intense with the League Management Company (LMC) lifting the stadium ban imposed on the home team so as to host the much anticipated game. The teams sure didn’t disappoint – scoring four beautiful goals in a very free flowing encounter.
- Battle of coaches
Another highpoint from the game was the battle for tactical superiority between both coaches. Coach Ilechukwu Fidelis came up against former Dutch international, Jacob de Jong, who recently took charge of Ikorodu. But it was the Nigerian who came up tops – inflicting a miserable debut on the ex-Cambuur gaffer whose team fell deeper into relegation waters.