SKE FC of Port Harcourt on Saturday defeated Udala FC of Awka 7-6 on penalties to earn the sole promotion ticket to the Nigerian Nationwide League One (NLO) in the South/East zone.
Both teams were locked in a 1-1 stalemate after ninety minutes of a rain-soaked encounter decided at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri on Saturday evening before the Port Harcourt based side edged the tie in sudden death penalties.
Anthony Obia gave SKE the lead in the seventh minute when he rounded off a flowing team move but the lead lasted for just two minutes as Udala replied from the penalty spot after a handball incident inside the SKE box. Goalkeeper Christian Okoh converting for Udala.
The promising start to the game was however washed off as a heavy downpour soon started midway through the first half, rendering parts of the pitch water logged and leaving both teams to take the kick-and-follow Beach Soccer route.
Neither side could find a winner in the second half though, leading to a pulsating penalty shoot-out which started with SKE captain Joe Chris seeing his kick saved by Udala goalkeeper, Okoh. His SKE contemporary Darlington Ovunda however stopped Udala’s third kick to tie both teams.
In the sudden death kicks, Udala’s lanky forward Lancy Gift blazed his team’s third attempt over the bar, leaving right back Monday Samuel to win the game; and promotion with the sixteenth spot kick of the game.
SKE FC who were beaten at this stage last season will now join seven other winners from the NLO Playoffs final decided across all regions this weekend.
Gbagada FC 1-0 Messiah FC
Wasiu Alabelewe 5-1 T.Akoma
KK United FC 4-1 Ambassadors FC
Super Pillars 2-1 Galaxy FC