The 4th edition of the Nigeria FMCG Games kicked off on Sunday, 9th July 2017 at the Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The football event was the curtain-raiser as defending Champions Unilever took on 2016 debutant, Friesland Campina in a thrilling 2 – 2 draw while debutants BUA and UAC played each other in a goalless draw.
Having lost to Unilever 3 – 2 in 2016, Friesland were determined to prevent a repeat episode as they stamped their authority and began to dictate proceedings. Their dominance paid off in the 10th minute when the tallest man on the pitch – Osas Godwin, headed home from six yards. Unilever responded brightly, producing two top draw saves from Idris Olanrewaju in goal for Friesland. Unilever got their reward seven minutes from the break as the captain; Ekundayo Akintade latched on to a through ball and coolly slotted it in the bottom right corner of Olanrewaju. Both teams took the game to each other and ended the half with each team feeling they deserved to be leading.
The defending champions – Unilever started the 2nd half a more determined side as they took the lead 12 minutes after restart. In a man of the match performance, Idowu Okunola produced a screamer, lobbing the goalkeeper from 44 yards and sending the Unilever supporters into wild jubilation. Friesland regrouped and did everything they could to peg Unilever back as they piled-on the pressure. They thought they had equalized when substitute, Tony Dunkwu latched on to a through ball only to shoot narrowly wide. Friesland eventually levelled matters in the 3rd minute of additional time when substitute – Jimoh Salau, fired in a low shot from the edge of the 18-yard area. There was little time left and both teams could not produce more late drama as they settled for a draw.
MVP: Idowu Okunola of Unilever
The second match of the day saw BUA Group play UAC Foods. Both teams were making their first appearance in the FMCG Games, therefore, the matchup was highly anticipated as the fans did not know what to expect. The game was played less pace, both team not in a hurry to score with UAC dominating possession and BUA content to defending and breaking on the counter attack. Even though UAC had the greater share of possession, they created few chances.
The second half was a little different as BUA changed tactic and went on the attack pegging UAC back and having them defending. The pressure from BUA almost paid-off when its captain Philip Nwosu found himself alone with the goalkeeper but he could not convert shooting over the bar from 8 yards.
After the scare from BUA, UAC recovered composure and exerted their dominance but they were not able to break the deadlock with the game ending in a draw.
MVP: Uche Egejuru of BUA