Tochukwu Oluehi saved three spot kicks as Rivers Angels clinched a seventh Federation Cup (now AITEO Cup) title at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos on Wednesday. The Jewel of Rivers defeated first-time finalists Ibom Angels 3-0 on penalties after regulation time ended 1-1.
Following a goalless first half, Cynthia Aku gave the defending champions the lead which lasted only four minutes before Glory Ogbonna restored parity for Ibom Angels.
Rivers Angels went on to win on penalties and will now pocket the mouthwatering 10 million naira prize money on offer thanks to the AITEO group sponsorship, while Ibom Angels have to settle for half that amount.
Both sides met twice in the regular season of the Nigeria Women Premier League and the matches ended in draws (1-1 in Uyo and 0-0 in Port Harcourt).
The AITEO Cup final on Wednesday was the third time in 2017 that Rivers Angels coach, Edwin Okon was being pitted against his former assistant Whyte Ogbonda, who has been in charge of Ibom Angels for two seasons now. While working together at Rivers Angels, they achieved many successes including five back to back Federation Cup (now AITEO Cup) titles from 2010 to 2014.
At the Rwang Pam Stadium, the South South neighbours produced a disjointed display in the first twenty minutes of action while they sought an opening goal.
Ibom Angel’s Blessing Okpe eventually got the ball in the back of the net in the 34th minute but she was adjudged offside.
Six minutes later, Rivers Angels midfielder Cecilia Nku saw her acrobatic effort off a Mabel Effiom cross go wide as the first half strolled to a goalless end.
Four minutes into the second half however, the Jewel of Rivers had a cause to celebrate as Cynthia Aku headed in a superb assist from Chioma Wogu.
Ibom Angels almost responded immediately from a goal mouth scramble but failed in their quest for an equalizer. They eventually restored parity through Glory Ogbonna in the 53rd minute.
There were no more goals until full time but Ibom Angels first choice goalkeeper Lucky Andy got injured and had to be replaced in the 80th minute by Fubiana Briggs.
With both sides inseparable at the final whistle, penalties were needed to decide the final.
During the penalty shootout, Tochukwu Oluehi saved spot kicks from Charity Reuben, Glory Ogbonna and Blessing Okpe to ensure Rivers Angels made up for a disappointing outing at the just concluded Nigeria Women Premier League Super Four championship.
Penalty Shootout Lowdown
Gladys Akpa (Rivers Angels) √
Charity Reuben (Ibom Angels) ×
Cecilia Nku (Rivers Angels) √
Glory Ogbonna (Ibom Angels) ×
Ugo Njoku (Rivers Angels) ×
Blessing Okpe (Ibom Angels) ×
Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels) √
Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels) – Golden Glove
Edwin Okon (Rivers Angels) – Best Coach
Amarachi Ojinma (Rivers Angels) – Golden Ball
Charity Reuben (Ibom Angels) – Most Valuable Player
Oluehi, Njoku, Effiom, Ohadugha (Evelyn Nwabuoku 77’), Akpa, Joseph, Ogebe, Aku (Rafiat Sule 56’), Nku, Ojinma (Patience Kalu 54’), Wogu
Unused Subs: Charity John, Ifeoma Ikenokwalu, Catherine Kenneth, Chinaza Uchendu
Andy (Fubiana Briggs 80’), Ibe, Ogbonna, Ottah, Uzor, Titus, Essien, Okpe, Charity, Emmanuel (Uduakobong Peter 50’), Enamino (Unyime Johnson 65’)
Unused Subs: Mercy UdoAkpan, Udeme Uko, Rachael Kolawole, Joan Etenkpa