Abia Warriors Emerge Champions Of Abia FA Cup: Beat Enyimba on Penalties

Abia Warriors are the champions of Abia State Football Association Cup, after defeating Enyimba International Football Club of Aba, 4-2 on penalties in the final game decided at the Umuahia Township Stadium.

It was 1-1 after 90 minutes and the lottery of penalty shout-out became inevitable where Abia Warriors demonstrated stronger mental attitude.

It was an encounter that lived up to expectation as It was physical, explosive, entertaining, intriguing, and exhilarating.

Coach Bethel Oji made two changes to the side that thrashed Miracle FC 10-0 in the semi final with Ifeanyi Anaemena and Collins Nwoburuoke getting the gaffer’s nod ahead of Prince Okorie and Goodluck Ozioma in the heart of Abia Warriors’ defence.

The game started at a high tempo with both sides trying to gain more control. There was no margin for error and both sides approached the game like a true cup final. Daniel Daga was pulling the strings for Enyimba, while Daniel Wotlai did the dirty job for Abia Warriors.

With the first half looking like ending in a draw, Abia Warriors took the lead after 35 minutes, when Enyimba failed to clear Adejoh Ojonugwa’s freekick, and Meme Okike was on hand to stab the ball into the net from close range.

The first half ended 1-0 with Warriors smelling victory. But If the first half was interesting, the second half can best be described as breathtaking.

The introduction of Chijioke Mbaoma and Eze Ekwutoziam saw Enyimba increase the tempo as the People’s Elephant attacked, possessed and fought, but the Warriors were resolute warding off everything thrown at them by their big brothers.

Unfortunately for the Pride of Abia, they could do nothing about the screamer of a goal from Enyimba’s winger, Joseph Atule in the 74th minute, which restored parity when he evaded his marker and released a bullet of a shot from about 40 metres which sent their supporters into frenzy.

There was a serious concern for both sides as Atule limped off after scoring the equalizer while Warriors midfield stalwart, Wotlai, followed.

The game resumed after the injured players were substituted, but both sides failed to score, and the centre referee blew his whistle signalling the end of regulation time.

Penalties were now required to determine the winner and Abia Warriors rose to the occasion, scoring four while Nigeria champions scored only two of their penalties.

Goalkeeper Sharp Uzoigwe made a save and Warriors’ starlet, Ayodele Ezekiel showed composure to score the decisive penalty to hand Abia Warriors the trophy.

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