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Abia Warriors defeat Enyimba International FC in Abia El-Classico to emerge Champions of FA Cup

Posted : 01 April 2024

Abia Warriors are the champions of the 2024 Abia State Football Association Cup after defeating Enyimba International Football Club of Aba 4-2 on penalties in the final game held at the Umuahia Township Stadium.

The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, leading to a penalty shootout where Abia Warriors demonstrated a stronger mental attitude.

It was an encounter that lived up to expectations, being physical, explosive, entertaining, intriguing, and exhilarating.

Coach Bethel Oji made two changes to the side that thrashed Miracle FC 10-0 in the semifinals, with Ifeanyi Anaemena and Collins Nwoburuoke getting the nod ahead of Prince Okorie and Goodluck Ozioma in the heart of Abia Warriors' defense.

The game started at a high tempo with both sides trying to gain control. There was no margin for error as both teams approached the game like a true cup final. Daniel Daga was pulling the strings for Enyimba, while Daniel Wotlai did the dirty work for Abia Warriors.

With the first half looking like it would end in a draw, Abia Warriors took the lead after 35 minutes when Enyimba failed to clear Adejoh Ojonugwa's free kick, and Meme Okike stabbed the ball into the net from close range.

The first half ended 1-0 with Warriors smelling victory. If the first half was interesting, the second half can best be described as breathtaking.

The introduction of Chijioke Mbaoma and Eze Ekwutoziam saw Enyimba increase the tempo as the People's Elephant attacked, possessed, and fought, but the Warriors were resolute in warding off everything thrown at them by their big brothers.

Unfortunately for the Pride of Abia, they could do nothing about the screamer of a goal from Enyimba's winger, Joseph Atule, in the 74th minute, which restored parity when he evaded his marker and released a bullet of a shot from about 40 meters, sending their supporters into a frenzy.

There was a serious concern for both sides as Atule limped off after scoring the equalizer, while Warriors midfield stalwart, Wotlai, followed.

The game resumed after the injured players were substituted, but both sides failed to score, and the center referee blew his whistle signaling the end of regulation time.

Penalties were now required to determine the winner, and Abia Warriors rose to the occasion, scoring four while the Nigerian champions scored only two of their penalties.

Goalkeeper Sharp Uzoigwe made a save, and Warriors' starlet, Ayodele Ezekiel, showed composure to score the decisive penalty, handing Abia Warriors the trophy.


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