Akwa United, in the Awka City Stadium, were knocked out of the 2023 Federation Cup at the hands of National League side EFCC FC.
Abuja based team came out victorious following a 9-8 score on penalty shootouts, after both teams played a 1-all draw in regulation time.
The two-time Federation Cup winners in 2015 and 2017 suffered the shocking exit when faced with the lottery of penalties after coming back from a goal down to force the game beyond the regulation time.
EFCC took the lead as early as the third minute of the game, leveraging on Akwa’s defensive frailties, and continued to frustrate the efforts of the NPFL team who tried and failed to restore parity before the break.
Head Coach of Akwa United, Ayodeji Ayeni then made tactical changes in the second 45 which yielded positively, as Azeez Olamilekan drew the game level after directing James Ajako’s delivery from set-piece into the back of the net.
David Philip and Wisdom Ndon missed their efforts from the spot out of ten taken by Akwa United, while EFCC scored nine of theirs to secure progression to the Round of 16.
Akwa United’s attention will now be shifted to the Nigeria Professional Football League final MatchDay in the abridged series, with the Promise Keepers having a final shot at Super Six qualification, when they face Gombe away from home in week 18.
Whatever they do, their fans will have to stay glued to their screens and their calculators to monitor their counterparts – Enyimba and Remo Stars, who are three and one point above them respectively, for any form of slip to take advantage of picking the Super 6 ticket.