The group stage round of this season’s AITEO Cup commenced on Monday with the Lagos centre recording a plentiful return of goals with eleven goals scored in two matches. Defending champions Akwa United also enjoyed a narrow win in Aba.
Former Champions Rivers United (formerly Dolphins) were defeated 3-2 by Kano Pillars despite taking the lead in the first game decided at the Agege Stadium in Lagos. Bernard Ovoke scored from the penalty spot for Rivers early on but Junior Lokosa equalised for Pillars shortly after the break before Rabiu Ali twice scored from the penalty spot with Lokosa fouled on each occasion. Osita Chikere scored United’s second late on.
In the other game at the Agege Stadium on Monday, Kwara United thrashed sorry Abia Warriors in a six-goal thriller which witnessed a hattrick and a dismissal for Warriors goalkeeper Uche Okafor. Segun Alebiosu netted a hattrick for the Harmony Warriors in their 5-1 victory.
While goals were flowing in Lagos, they were hard to come by in Aba zone where reigning champions Akwa United were campaigning alongside Wikki Tourists, 2016 runners up Nasarawa United and second division side Kogi United.
The first game of the day ended 0-0 between Kogi and Nasarawa United with the former missing a spot kick in the second half when Olushola Ajala fired wide from twelve yards. Neither side could eventually register a goal in the game.
Champions Akwa United were stretched by fellow NPFL side Wikki, the last side coached by Abdu Maikaba before joining them; but they eventually prevailed 1-0 courtesy of striker Victor Mbaoma’s 53rd minute goal, tapping home a Mathew Etim cutback as the Promise Keepers shoot to the top of the group.
At the Kano Zone, former Cup Champions Enugu Rangers went to the top of the group after a hard earned 2-1 win over El-Kanemi Warriors, coached by their former coach Imama Amapakabo. Ifeanyi George’s first half penalty gave Rangers a half time lead but former Rangers star Afolabi Abdulwaheed equalised for Warriors early in the second half before Kelvin Itoya headed home the winner ten minutes from time.
In the earlier game at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Sunshine Stars were held to a 0-0 draw by Supreme Court, a lower division team that eliminated NPFL side Go Round in the last round.
Action resumes at all the centres on Wednesday after the teams might have observed Tuesday as a rest day. The Gombe centre which has Enyimba, Julius Atete FC, Plateau United and Katsina United will get their action underway on Wednesday.
Supreme Court 0-0 Sunshine Stars
Rangers FC 2-1 El-Kanemi Warriors
Kano Pillars 3-2 Rivers United
Abia Warriors 1-5 Kwara United
Kogi United 0-0 Nasarawa United
Akwa United 1-0 Wikki Tourists