Akwa United shock Lobi Stars 2-1, win first Federation Cup title
Since winning their solitary title in 2003, Lobi Stars have failed twice (in 2005 and 2012) to win the competition, which guarantees the victor a chance to represent the country in the CAF Confederation Cup. Lobi Stars lost in 2005 to Enyimba and were beaten by Heartland in the 2012 final.
This is Akwa United’s first taste of national title, but it did not come easy to the Uyo lads.
Akwa United’s road to success started with Nnamso Edo’s goal from a free kick in the 36th minute.
The goal from the rising dead ball specialist unsettled Lobi Stars, but the Dominic Iorfa boys quickly rallied together, with Moses Bunde leading the search for the equaliser.
Lobi brought in Nanen Imenger in place of Illoh Uche and Mohammed Farouk to replace Terna Ikpeen, in the quest for goals but they found Akwa United’s goalkeeper, Olufemi Kayode, too hard to beat.
The first half ended 1-0 in Akwa United’s favour.
Akwa United increased the tally in the 68th minute through midfielder, Abdulafeez Awakan, who shot home from outside the area.
The goal instead of extinguishing the fight in Lobi Stars, rather brought out the battle in them, as they swarmed on the Uyo team looking for goals.
They got one through Imenger, whose free kick fooled Kayode for a nervy end to the game.
Akwa United, however, held on to win their first Federation Cup to the delight of their fans, who travelled all the way from Uyo to support the team.
At the end of the game, Akwa United midfielder, Abdulafeez Awakan, was voted the Most Valuable player of the 2015 Federation Cup, while his teammate, Friday Ubong with six goals, picked the top scorer’s award.
Earlier in the women version, Sunshine Queens of Akure defeated Bayelsa Queens through a 3-1 penalty shootout to also win their first title.
Both sides were tied at 1-1 after regulation time and penalties were needed to determine the winner.
Kalu Patience put Bayelsa Queens ahead in the 65tb minute and they looked to be coasting until the Akure Babes rallied back to score the equaliser.
It came 10 minutes after the opener through Shola Oyewusi, who scrambled the ball home after the Bayelsa Queens keeper failed to hold on to it.
In the ensuing shootout, Sunshine Queens converted three of their kicks, while Bayelsa were only able to put one in.