Sunshine Stars, Akwa United, ABS crash out of Federation Cup

Big teams continue to exit the Federation Cup as more matches will be played on Saturday
Three Premier League club sides, Sunshine Stars, Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Akwa United were all dumped out of the Federation Cup in the round of 32 matches that were played on Friday.

Sunshine Stars were shown the way out by new Premier League entrants Nasarawa United 3-0 at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja on Friday.

Nasarawa scored all three goals in the first half to cruise to the Round of 16 of the competition at the expense of better rated Ondo State representatives.

Camerounian import and Sunshine midfielder Tamen Medrano told that they never knew what hit them until they were three goals down at the end of the first half while he added that their frantic effort to turn the game around in the second half met a brickwall in the Nasarawa United defenders who held forte as if their entire lives depended on the tie.

“We lost 3-0 and that is football for you. We tried our best but it was not enough at all. They are new Premier League side and they have a lot of energy to burn. They were three goals up at half time and we tried to salvage something at the start of the second half but it was too little too late.

"We hope to channel all what we have towards the Caf Chmapions League tie against Esperance of Tunisia and we hope to bounce back from this humiliating defeat with a bang,” Medrano, who made his comeback to football from the malaria fever that put him on the sidelines for quite some time told

Both ABS and Akwa United also fell to the superior fireworks of Crown of Ogbomosho and Dynamite FC of Benin. ABS lost to a 2nd minute goal converted by the Oyo State remaining reps while Dynamite defeated Akwa United in Port-Harcourt, 2-1.

It was not sad news for all the Premier League side as cup holders Heartland endured a torrid weather and an unplayable Enyimba International Stadium, Aba, to oust Unicem Rovers 2-1 in an entertaining tie which was marred by the wet pitch.

Jolly Osas put Heartland in the driver’s seat in the 43rd minute but some sloppy defending from the 2011 Federation Cup kings gave Unicem the encouragement and they equailzed in the 56th minute through Godwin Effiong. Heartland were never deterred despite the setback and they got what proved to be the matchwinner four minutes after the Cross Rivers’ flagbearers’ leveller through Kabiru Umar who nodded home an inviting inswinger.

Warri Wolves though nicked a berth in the Round of 16, they were made to sweat for it with all they had by Spotlite of Katsina. Wolves got the curtain raiser of the match through Azuka Ebinum but Spotlite evened the scores in the second half through Samuel Agba. The NPL side however progressed in the ensuing penalty 4-3.

NPL leaders Enugu Rangers, with a brace from Odoukpe Oghogho in the first ten minutes of the match, defused the antics of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) 2-0 in Lokoja as Kwara United also pulled through after beating hardfighting Akpabio 2-1.

Matches continue in the Day 2 of the Round of 32 on Saturday with Enyimba facing Kogi United, Lobi Stars squaring up with Niger Tornadoes among other fixtures.   

Rangers 2 JUTH 0
Samba 1 Canaan City 0
Warri Wolves 1 Spotlite 1 (4-3 pens)
Heartland 2 UNICEM 1
Kwara United 2 Akpabio 1
El Kanemi 1 Abia Warriors 0
Nasarawa United 3 Sunshine 0
Dynamite Force 2 Akwa United 1
Crown FC 1 ABS FC 0