Two-time Federation Cup Champions Akwa United are through to the Round of 32 of the 2019 Aiteo (FA) Cup after a 2-1 win over Sokoto United in the Round of 64 of the competition at the FIFA Goal Project pitch in Abuja.
A goal in each half from defender Denis Nya and striker Ndifreke Effiong secure the Promise Keepers’ victory and qualification to the round of 32.
The game got off to a cagey start for the two sides as they struggled to cope with the hot astro turf at the FIFA Goal Project pitch, but the Promise Keepers were the first to settle in. The game burst into life in the 5th minute when Chigozie Chilekwu’s shot from a distance went wide.
Another smooth attacking move by the NPFL side resulted in a foul on Mfon Udoh outside Sokoto United’s box. Ndifreke Effiong rolled for Denis Nya who arrowed a fierce drive into the roof of the net to give his team an early lead and calm some nerves on the touch line.
Akwa United created four more chances but failed to convert them in what was a near perfect performance. Mfon Udoh fashioned a good cross into the vital area, but Sokoto United’s goalkeeper was quick to make a save before Ndifreke Effiong could get his head to the ball.
Moments later, midfielder Emmanuel Charles’ glancing header from Mfon Udoh’s delightful cross from a corner kick was tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper. The outstanding goalkeeper was in his element towards the end of first half as he denied Mfon Udoh in a one-on-one situation.
The 2017 champions could have doubled their advantage seconds after the restart when Chigozie Chilekwu fired his low shot straight at the goalkeeper after a brilliant work by Ndifreke Effiong.
The boys from the Caliphate levelled the scores from the penalty spot after defender Kodjovi Dadzie handled the ball in the box following a failed attempt to clear a dangerous ball.
Akwa United had two excellent chances to restore their lead, but Emmanuel Charles and Mfon Udoh saw their efforts narrowly miss the target.
Akwa United scored the winning goal in the 62nd minute through Ndifreke Effiong. The striker rose the highest to nod home Mfon Udoh’s spectacular freekick.
Late efforts from Ndifreke Effiong, Wisdom Fernando and Cyril Olisema to increase their team’s tally were unsuccessful, but the 2-1 win was good enough as they set their sight on winning the competition for the third time in five years.
Akwa United will know their next round opponents when the draws are conducted after this weekend’s matches.