Enyimba, Akwa United, 3SC suffer shock exits from Fed Cup ...As Lobi Stars, Nasarawa United, Insurance, others reach Round of 16
Acompetition known for upsets, this year’s Federation Cup competition is living up to expectations as some top clubs in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) suffered shock exits after the Round of 32 matches were decided yesterday in the men’s category.
Although tipped to go all the way to the finals, former champions, Enyimba, Akwa United and 3SC of Ibadan were among the clubs that failed to survive the Round of 32.
2015 and 2017 champions, Akwa United lost 8-9 on penalties to Nigeria National League (NNL) side, EFCC of Abuja after 1-1 in regulation at the Awka Township Stadium in Anambra.
Another former champion, 3SC also called Shooting Stars, suffered the same fate at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri where they were bundled out by another NNL side, Warri Wolves 4-3 on penalties after regulation time ended in a barren draw.
In the clash of NPFL heavyweights in Benin City, Plateau United progressed to the Round of 16 at the expense of Enyimba 3-2 on penalties after the regulation time ended 2-2.
Elsewhere, Onyekachi Okafor and Christian Weli scored a goal each to give Heartland FC a 2-1 victory over hard fighting Essien Ayi of Cross River while Ismael Sarki scored the only goal of the match as Bendel Insurance subdued resilient Ahudiya of Abia State 1-0 at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar to clinch the Round of 16 ticket.
In the double header at the Area 3 pitch in Abuja, Doma United romped to a 4-0 win over hapless FR Ebunujia of Imo State with Victor Osimhen look alike, Charles Chibuike scoring a hat-trick for the ‘Savannah Tigers.’
However, Lobi Stars of Makurdi who took to the same pitch immediately after the first match laboured to a 2-1 victory over relentless Cynosure FC of Abakiliki.
It was a ding-dong affair but towards the end of the first half, former junior international defender, John Lazarus, put Lobi Stars ahead with a power strike at the edge of the box.
On resumption, Abdullahi Ibrahim’s header in the 57th minute drew Cynosure level but when it appeared the match was heading to penalty shoot-out, Nigerian international, Barnabas Nanen Imenger jr, popped up with the match winner in the 86th minute for the ‘Pride of Benue’ to reach the Round of 16.
Meanwhile, at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium Bauchi, relegated Nasarawa United defeated DMD of Maiduguri 3-2, Kwara United piped Ikorodu City of Lagos 3-1 in Oshogbo while