Akwa United’s hope of lifting the 2023 Federation Cup trophy ended at the Awka City stadium on Wednesday following a 9-8 penalty shootout defeat to EFCC Football Club of Abuja in round 32.

The Nigeria National League side took the lead inside the opening three minutes of the game and frustrated the two-time champions throughout the first-half.

Coach Ayodeji Ayeni made some tactical changes just before the commencement of the second half. Captain Ubong Friday and midfielder Liman Ahmadu were introduced in place of Moses Effiong and Sadeeq Yusuf.

The substitutions paid off as the Promise Keepers responded early in the second-half through midfielder Azeez Olamilekan who directed James Ajako’s delivery from a free kick into the net.

Coach Ayeni’s boys went in search of the winning goal but were kept at bay by the determined NNL side who were also pushing for a kill.

Akwa United created many good scoring chances but Wisdom Fernando, Ubong Friday, Ifeanyi Ogba, David Philip, Uche Collins and Liman Ahmadu were unable to make the most of their opportunities as the game ended 1-1 after the regulation time.

The two-time champions scored eight of their ten spot kicks with David Philip and Wisdom Ndon missing their penalties while EFCC scored nine of their ten spot kicks to progress to Round 16 of the 2023 FA Cup as Akwa United bow out.

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