Liman Ahmadu’s goal in the 27th minute earned two-time champions Akwa United a 1-0 victory over Wikki Tourists to book their place in the round of 32 of the 2023 Federation Cup competition.
The midfielder was one of the three changes made by coach Ayodeji Ayeni to the starting eleven that defeated Kwara United in a league match on Monday.
The Promise Keepers arrived at UNEC Stadium with sweet and bitter memories from last season’s FA Cup in which they thrashed Remo Stars 3-0 before being knocked out 2-1 by NNL side Kogi United.
The bitter memories of last season was quickly banished on Thursday as they settled in nicely and took control of the game against a struggling Wikki Tourists side.
Akwa United had some good goal scoring chances to go Infront but were denied by some brilliant defending and Yusuf Mohammed’s alertness in Wikki Tourists’ goal. James Ajako came close with a well-taken free kick which sailed over the bar.
The breakthrough came in the 27th minute when James Ajako whipped in a delightful cross from a corner kick. Abbey Benson headed the ball beyond goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed but his attempt was cleared off the line by Sunday Haruna onto the path of Liman Ahmadu who stabbed the ball home from close range.
Coach Ayodeji Ayeni’s team continued the second half where the left off the first, with Moses Effiong and Uche Collins pushing for another goal but were unable to fashion out a good finish.
At the other end, Abbey Benson and Anthony Anioke formed a solid partnership to keep out all of Wikki Tourists’ attacking threats while goalkeeper Jean Efala was in his element to keep out the few shots that the opposing team managed to fashion out.
As Wikki Tourists poured forward in search of an equalizer, Akwa United lunched a quick counter attack. Uche Collins showed great composure to control the ball and locate Liman Ahmadu with an inviting through pass. The midfielder played it first-time but the goalkeeper saved his effort outside the box, the penalty appeal was waved away by the referee as they held on to a 1-0 win.
Akwa United will know their Round 32 opponents when the draws are conducted in the weekend. The team will next face Remo Stars in a league match in Ikenne on Sunday.