Substitute Damilare Johnson scored a crucial goal in stoppage time as two-time champions Akwa United beat stubborn Cynosure Football Club in the round of 64 of the 2024 President Federation Cup match at the Dan Anyiam stadium on Wednesday.

Akwa United began the game on the front foot, displaying some eye-catching attacking moves but they couldn’t really establish their authority in the game as they struggled with the bumpy surface of the Dan Anyiam stadium.

After a goalless first-half, coach Muhammed Baba Ganaru made some tactical changes. Striker Damilare Johnson and midfielder Micheal Egbeta were introduced in place of Seyi Oguntayo and Salomon Chigoziem. 

Goal-scoring chances were few and far between for the two teams in the second half, but both sides continued their push for the crucial goal.

With twelve minutes to the end of the game, the referee judged that defender Heutchou Gerome had impeded an attacking player inside the box and awarded a penalty to Cynosure. The captain of the team ballooned his effort from the spot.

Few minutes to the end of the match coach Baba Ganaru introduced David Philip and goalkeeper Badmos Nurudeen into the game. Deep into stoppage time, Sani Suleiman was brought down at the edge of the box and a free kick was awarded to Akwa United.

Left-back David Philip delivered a great cross inside the box, striker Damilare Johnson out-jumped his marker and directed the ball with a powerful header into the net for the only goal of the match.

A late attempt by the Ebonyi state representative to level the scores was saved by goalkeeper Badmos Nurudeen as the Promise Keepers recorded a hard earned victory and secured their passage to the round of 32 of the competition.

Akwa United will know their round 32 opponents and the match venue when the draws for the are conducted by the Nigeria Football Federation later this month.

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