KADUNA – Nasarawa Amazons are the 2019 Aiteo Cup champions after they dethroned 8-time defending champions 5-4 in a penalty shootout at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
Saiki Mary scored the decisive kick for Amazons after Rita Orji had missed from the spot after the game ended goalless in regulation time.
In a largely uneventful game played in front of a respectable crowd, top dignitaries of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and government functionaries, it was Amazons who last won the Aiteo Cup in 2005 that were the better side and although penalties are no measure of a team’s prowess, Rivers Angel can have no real complaints having been second best throughout.
Chances were few and far in between with Vivian Ikechukwu shining the brightest for Angels while Igboamalu Chinyere and Ejaloniba Adegoke both went close for Amazons.
But with no real penetration from either side, it was no surprise that the game ended goalless and headed straight to penalties.
Angels have held such a stranglehold on the trophy having won the trophy eight times in the last nine years and were perhaps hopeful that penalty kicks would swing the tide in their favour.
And indeed, the spot-kick went as planned until Rita Orji faltered in Angels’ fourth from the spot. Philip Lola then held her nerve to put Amazons 4-3 up and although Evelyn Nwabuoku scored to keep Angels in it, Saiki Mary was a picture of calm as she rolled in the winning spot-kick to hand Amazons a first triumph in the Aiteo Cup in fourteen years.