The 2017 AITEO Cup began with shock results and early Cup exits for four Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) teams on Wednesday.
ABS FC knocked out four-time Cup champions Enyimba International 2-1 at the Kwara Township Stadium, Ilorin. Adeshina Gata and Yinka Adewale scored two goals in each half to cancel Eric Frimpong’s strike for the People’s Elephant.
“We fought hard in the game, we came back from a goal down but we couldn’t stay compact in the second half. Just few days ago we defeated ABS in Calabar and we knew coming to Ilorin would be a difficult encounter. It is painful we got knocked out in the first round, we could have done better,” said Enyimba midfielder Dare Ojo to Naijafootballplus.com.
The biggest upset was in Port Harcourt as third division side J. Atete bundled out Rivers United in front of their fans at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium. The game ended goalless after duration time, the visitors emerged victorious 7-6 via penalties.
Rivers United striker Bolaji Sakin said to Naijafootballplus.com after the defeat: “We are disappointed with our performance in front of our fans, the result is unacceptable and we are not happy with the outcome. We could have converted our chances but we allowed the game to drag into penalties, penalty is a game of luck. Unfortunately, we were on the losing side. This is not good for the team confidence, we have to pick up and stay focus on the survival battles in the NPFL.”
Meanwhile, Nasarawa United spanked MFM FC 3-0 at the Lafia Township Stadium. First half ended goalless but the visitors scored three goals in the second half to secure their passage into the next round.
MFM defender Elom Kenneth got red carded early in the second half before the goals rained. Ishaya Anyu volleyed home the opening goal in the second half, Tayo Fabiyi doubled the lead while Buhari Jafar scored the third goal late in the game.
MFM and Benin Republic midfielder Giscard Tchato expressed disappointment in his side’s Cup exit in Lafia.
“Despite the fact that the coach rested many players and two of our players are busy with the National team, I think we could have still put up a better performance. We had the game in our hands and forced them to a barren first half, lost of concentration in the early part of the second half cost us the game. We could have be more focus than we did in the first half. We have only one route left to play on the continent next season, we have to ensure we finish second in the NPFL,” Tchato said.
Wikki Tourists lost 1-2 at home to Plateau United. The NPFL leaders continued with their great form this season.