Vanguard (Lagos)

17 July 2012

Nigeria: Federation Cup - El Kanemi Warriors Stun Kwara Utd, Rangers Fall to Prime

Photo: Steven Depolo/Flckr.com
Have soccer balls, will play.

True to tradition, the 2012 Federation Cup has continued to churn out surprise results. The tradition was kept alive at the Agege stadium, Lagos yesterday when a 22nd minute strike by Thompson Ezekiel gave newly promoted National League side, El Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri a shock 1-0 victory over Nigeria Premier League side, Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin.

In Ibadan, Premier League table toppers, Rangers International of Enugu fell by the same margin to Prime FC.

It was a result most followers of the local game least expected although El Kanemi worked hard to earn their victory, they also had a touch of luck as Kwara played most of the second half with ten men.

The match started with Kwara gaining more of the ball possession as their pace and crisp touches on the ball were a delight to watch.

With Coach Kelechi Emetoele on the sidelines passing instructions, the El Kanemi players stood their grounds rebuffing all forays and thwarting every move with occasional counter attacks. Team captain, Bamai Bukar and Stanley Onuegbu were quite outstanding in their defensive roles while occasional runs by Thompson and Chidi Orji gave the Kwara defense a lot of concern.The scoreline stood at 1-0 at the end of the first stanza.

The second half resumed with the same pace and grit, particularly, as the Kwara team became desperate to even scores. It was in one of such desperate moments that Charles Ogar carelessly stepped on an El Kanemi player. His indiscretion attracted the centre referee's wrath and was given the marching orders.

A visibly happy Coach Emetoele said after the match, "I am happy but towards the end, we almost lost it. I always tell my players to remain disciplined. It almost cost us the match. I am happy I have listening players. We'll approach each opponent as they come."

Kwara United sweat merchant, Tunde Sanni was shell shocked but said luck was against his team. "We played well. We had a good game in all ramifications. The red card worked against us but we remain hopeful," he said.

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