Presidential Cup: Abia Warriors Progress To Round Of 32

Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia moved to the round of 32 of the on-going Presidential Cup, after defeating Oyo State champions Ilaji Football Club of Ibadan 4-2 at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.

Two goals each from attack duo Sunday Megwo and Paschal Nwabueze condemned the Oyo State champions to an early exit from the oldest competition in Nigeria.

For the Umuahia landlords, goalkeeper Ali Ishaku made his season debut, and the tall shot stopper capped it with an assist. Antoine Desouza replaced Samson Obi in attack. Meme Okike took the place of the injured midfield warlord, Daniel Wotlai, and Collins Nwoburuoke paired with Prince Okorie in the heart of defence ahead of Goodluck Ozioma as Coach Bethel Oji adjusted his squad.

The game started with the Warriors mounting pressure on their opponents, and it paid off in the 8th minute when goalkeeper Ali Ishaku’s long pass located Sunday Megwo who held off his marker and put the ball beyond the on-rushing Ilaji keeper, Adisa Oliver for the opener.

Megwo doubled the lead for Abia Warriors in the 21st minute.He controlled Aliyu’s pass inside the opponents’ box, and despite pressure from an accompanying Ilaji FC defender in a tight angle, sold a dummy to the keeper before chipping it into the net. A cheeky goal it was and it drew applause from the spectators.

Bolarinwa Rokeeb pulled one back for Ilaji FC after a momentary loss of concentration from the Warriors’ defence to end the first half 2-1 in favour of the Pride of Umuahia.

n the 52nd minute, Megwo thought he had scored for the third time after Jerry Ogu who had replaced the injured Skipper, Augustine Njoku, gave a sweet delivery to him to tap in, but the Assistant Referee raised his flag for offside.

Nonetheless, the Warriors were not to be denied in the 61st minute when a delightful combination of play that involved Meme Okike, Emmanuel Onu and the marauding Adejoh Ojonugwa, ended with Paschal Nwabueze finding the back of the net from close range.

Eight minutes later, Abia Warriors seemed to be home and dry when another dangerous cross from Jerry Ogu found Paschal, and the Enugu boy made no mistake to slam the ball into the net for his second goal of the day.

Ilaji FC were awarded a penalty in the 80th minute after Ogu was adjudged to have handled the ball in Warriors’ box and Suleiman Rasheed sent Ali the wrong way to score their second goal.

At the other end, Samson Obi was unlucky not to restore the Warriors’ three goal advantage in closing stages of the game when he found himself in a one-on-one situation with the keeper but his shot came off the crossbar to the delight of the Oyo State champions.

Having seen this through, Abia Warriors will now focus on the rescheduled NPFL encounter against Rivers United coming up on the 15th of May, at the Umuahia Township Stadium.

Leave a comment