Abia Warriors Zoom Into President Fed Cup Finals: Beat Kano Pillars In Lafia

It was wild celebration in Lafia for Abia Warriors Football Club team and supporters as the Umuahia warlords made it to the final of the 2024 President Federation Cup for the first time after beating former champions, Kano Pillars Football Club 4-3 on penalties, after their semi-final game ended goalless at regulation time.

It was a tension soaked match that drew teeming football fans to the Lafia City Stadium.

Abia Warriors gaffer, Coach Bethel Oji made two changes to the squad that beat Akwa United Football Club 2-0 last Sunday in Umuahia in the penultimate encounter of the on-going Nigeria Premier Football League with Goalkeeper Ali Ishaku and midfield warlord, Daniel Wotlai taking the places of veteran goalkeeper, Femi Thomas and Arinze Ogbonna respectively.

The match started with Kano Pillars according respect to the Warriors, and understandably so, having lost twice this season in the Nigeria Premier Football League to their opponents.

However, as the game wore on, the Sai Masu Gida gradually started to enjoy most of the ball possession whereas, the Warriors looked dangerous on the counter.

For all their possession, they could not breakdown the Warriors defence. The only concern for Abia Warriors being a forced substitution as a result of injury after Prince Okorie was replaced by Arinze Ogbonna, the latter moving into the midfield while Daniel Wotlai partnered Collins Nwoburuoke at the heart of defence.

The second half started with the Pillars taking the game to the Warriors with veteran midfielder, Rabiu Ali at the thick of things. However, they met a stubborn Abia Warriors defence marshalled by Wotlai and Nwoburuoke.

As the Pillars were on the ascendency, Coach Bethel Oji quickly made a tactical change, throwing Abia Warriors playmaker, Emmanuel Onu and striker, Antoine Desouza into the fray; Samson Obi and Meme Okike the players sacrificed.

And that switched play in favour of the Pride of Abia, as Onu began orchestrating Abia Warriors play, while Antoine Desouza and Sunday Megwo asked questions at the opponents defence.

After the end of the regulation period and five minutes of added time shown by the fourth official and the scoreline still 0-0, the lottery of penalty shootout was now required to decide which team goes to the final, and Abia Warriors emerged victorious after converting all their penalty kicks while Kano Pillars missed two of their spot kicks, Ali Ishaku saving one of those.

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