9ja Flavour

Gallant FC ONE Rocket bow out of Federation Cup after Lobi Stars shoot-out loss

Nigeria National League side, FC ONE Rocket, put up an amazing show against Lobi Stars before bowing out 5-3 on penalties after a pulsating 2-2 draw in a Federation Cup Round of 64 tie at the Awka City Stadium on Wednesday.

The Indomitables showed no respect to the Pride of Benue and went toe-to-toe with them from the blast of the whistle with good ball passing and beautiful transition, but faced an early setback when centre back, Charles Etim turned the ball into his own net while attempting to clear a dangerous cross.

An immediate response saw Clinton Jephta being denied by Emmanuel Daniel after the winger was played through on goal in the 11th minute.

In the 32nd minute, former Akwa United midfielder, Nasiru Jibril found Wonderson Yakubu with a clever pass from a quick free kick, but the attempt went wide, before two quick attempts in the 40th and 45th minutes by Bidemi Obodu and Clinton Jephta all got saved by Lobi Stars goalkeeper, Emmanuel Daniel to keep his side’s lead intact heading into the break. Goalkeeper, Lordful Philip also did well with fantastic saves to deny Lobi Stars from adding to their advantage in the first half.

A trio of changes, three minutes into the second half by FC ONE Rocket coach, Ndubisi Ndah with the introduction of Efe Kegbe, Paul Ogunkoya and William Julius for Joshua Sunday, Bright Osah and Nasiru Jibril became a thorn in the flesh of the Lobi backline, and immediately paid off in the 51st minute when Paul Ogunkoya fired home after a cross into the area, but his celebration was cut short as the flag went up against him.

Four minutes later, the equalizer came through Wonderson Yakubu’s composed header from Clinton Jephta’s well-tailored cross that left Lobi Stars’ defenders and goalkeeper gazing in admiration as the ball strolled into the net.

Undeterred, the Akwa Ibom State FA Cup finalists took the lead in the 70th minute with Clinton Jephta finding the back of the net with a one-time finish, thanks to substitute, Imam Bala’s gorgeous pass.

With five minutes left on the clock, Joseph Atule levelled the scoreline at 2-2 to send the game into penalties, which ended 5-3 in favour of the Makurdi-based side.

Second on the Southern Conference Group B1 log with eight points from five games, FC ONE Rocket exit the Federation Cup with shoulders held high after sizing their opponents’ shoe with intimidating guts, and travel to Yenagoa to face Henserd FC in the first game of the second stanza on Saturday.

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