For the first time in the history of Nigeria’s Cup competitions, one state claimed both the women and men titles as second-tier Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens were crowned winners of the 2021 AITEO Cup competition in Benin City on Sunday.
Both final games were decided at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, in the heart of the ancient city with the women’s final taking centre stage before the men’s final, both games played under floodlights and inside a persistent rainfall.
Aiteo Cup topscorer Mary Anjor gave Bayelsa Queens a 15th minute lead against FC Robo Queens in the first final from a free kick but Robo captain Monday Gift replied with a deceptive finish four minutes later.
Bayelsa Queens went in front again in the 37th minute through Juliet Sunday, who was scoring in her second Cup final in three editions.
Peace Efih then finished a good team move late in the first half to give the Moses Aduku led side a 3-1 lead at half time.
Habeebat Akinwande then reduced the arrears for the Lagos based side midway through the second half with a free kick but substitute Joy Bokiri made the game safer late on with an 85th minute free kick.
The result handed Bayelsa Queens their first ever Women’s Aiteo Cup competition with the game setting the tone for an even bigger men’s final.
Like their women’s counterpart, Bayelsa United also took the lead in the men’s final courtesy of Inikurogha Okardi’s well executed goal from inside the box.
Nasarawa replied almost immediately at the other end through Chinedum Onanacho after a costly error by Bayelsa defender Endurance Ebedebiri.
Nasarawa then went in front after a sweet move which involved league’s topscorer Silas Nwankwo who provided a brilliant pass for Abdullahi Aliyu to controll and finish behind Bayelsa goalkeeper John Shaibu.
With just nine minutes left in the first half, James Emo headed home a brilliant cross by Oladimeji Hazzan to peg the game at 2-2, a scoreline which stood as the ful time scores after Nasarawa goalkeeper Mohammed Galadima denied Christian Mizo and Inikurogha Okardi in the second half.
The game went into penalties where Bayelsa’s substitute goalkeeper John Consul saved a spot kick while Nasarawa striker Silas Nwankwo ballooned his own for Nasarawa leaving the second division side to claim the trophy 4-3.
FT: Nasarawa United 2-2 Bayelsa United (3-4 on penalties)— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) August 8, 2021
Bayelsa United & Bayelsa Queens win their first ever Cup titles on the same day, the first time two teams from the same state will achieve this feat.
Hello Gov. Douye Diri. What's happening?#AiteoCup21 #AiteoCupfinal pic.twitter.com/3REek4TEVj
With the win, Bayelsa United, coached by former International Diepreye Telbowei won the Aiteo Cup for the first time ever and became only the first second division side to win it in 20 years (after Dolphins of Port Harcourt in 2001).