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Edo Queens win maiden NWFL Premiership title in dramatic fashion

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For the first time in their history, Edo Queens have emerged as the champions of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Premiership.

The Benin City-based team clinched the title in dramatic finalday showdown following a 1-1 draw against Bayelsa Queens at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, on Matchday Five of the 2023/2024 Super Six on Sunday.

Despite needing a win to secure their position regardless of other results, Moses Aduku’s side managed to top the standings.

They had to keep an eye on the match between seven-time champions Rivers Angels and Super Six debutants Heartland Queens in Nembe, which also had title implications.

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Bayelsa Queens nearly took the lead in the sixth minute when Mary Anjor’s cross was mishandled by Mercy Omokwo, who missed an open net.

This miss proved costly as Edo Queens capitalized on a corner kick in the 29th minute, with Emem Essien scoring an acrobatic goal from inside the six-yard box.

At half time, with the match between Rivers Angels and Heartland Queens still goalless, both teams in Yenagoa intensified their search for a decisive goal.

Four minutes into the second half, Bayelsa Queens equalized through Zainab Olopade, who converted a free kick following a foul on Anjor near the box.

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In Nembe, Rivers Angels took the lead in the 72nd minute with a goal from Olamide Adugbe, shifting the table in their favor.

This put pressure on both teams in Yenagoa to find another goal to reclaim the top spot. Bayelsa Queens needed more goals to surpass their South-South neighbors.

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However, Heartland Queens played spoilers for Rivers Angels as substitute Emmanuella James scored from a goalmouth scramble, equalizing on the dot of 90 minutes. This twist returned the title race in favor of Edo Queens.

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Ultimately, both deciding matches ended in 1-1 draws, securing the league title for Edo Queens for the first time. Rivers Angels missed out on their chance to win a record-breaking eighth title to finish second, while Bayelsa Queens also fell short of claiming their sixth title to end in third after successes in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2018, and the 2021/2022 seasons.

Edo Queens will now represent Nigeria at the 2024 West Africa Zone B (WAFU-B) Women’s Champions League Qualifiers, with the opportunity to qualify for the fourth edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League.

In addition to the giant trophy, the Benin Arsenals received a cash prize of 10 million naira after securing 10 points. The first runners-up, Rivers Angels, were awarded 5 million naira, edging out Bayelsa Queens, who received 3 million naira, due to their superior goals scored despite both teams being tied on nine points.

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