The fourth edition of the Joe Udofia Unity Cup kicked off at St. Theresa’s Primary School, Use Abat, on Saturday with Inyang Isong getting their title defence off to a winning start with a 3-0 victory over Ikot Usan.
Attended by well over 10,000 people, including Joe Udofia, Chief Executive Officer of Vandrezzer Energy Limited, sponsors of the tournament and owners of Vandrezzer FC, the game saw first-half goals from Uko Gregory Frank, Joshua William, and a late Papa Archibong strike hand Inyang Isong a deserved 3-0 win.
After the ceremonial kick off done by former member Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly representing Ibiono Ibom Constituency Barrister Ime Okon, and the main kick off by Inyang Isong, it was all about the defending champions in the opening minutes and indeed the entire evening. The champions lived up to their pre-tournament favourites tag, with their displays continually attracting applause from the stands.
The game had barely begun when the champions hit the woodwork. Despite their early dominance, they were made to wait until the 16th minute for the opener. Frank latched onto a pass, cut onto his left before firing past Emmanuel Paul in the Ikot Usan goal and into the back of the net.
Ikot Usan tried to respond but found themselves conceding a second 10 minutes later, with William firing into the top left corner from range. It was a superb finish and Paul had no chance of keeping that one out.
Inyang Isong continued the second-half where they left off in the first, but Ikot Usan nearly pulled one back through Otobong Paul’s delightful volley which sailed just wide of the crossbar. And moments later, they endured a self-inflicted scare when William lost possession, presenting three Ikot Usan players with a chance. Aniekan Udoudo tracked back to rescue the situation, though — putting the ball behind for a corner with a sliding tackle.
And with two minutes left to play, Archibong put the game beyond Ikot Usan, poking home from close range after Paul spilled Frank’s shot.
In the tournament’s second match played on Sunday, Ikot Akpan Attai defeated Abat by a lone goal.
The colourful opening ceremony also saw the performance of Akwa Ibom top musical duo Unik Brodaz, a brass band, and was well attended by journalists from across the state.
The competition which continues today, runs till December 26, 2019.