ABUJA – Gateway United Football Club of Abeokuta on Friday qualified for the quarter-finals of the ongoing 2014 Federation Cup after beating Bayelsa United FC of Yenagoa to create another Cup upset.
In the Round of 16 match played at the FIFA Goal Project pitch of the Abuja National Stadium, both teams struggled to edge each other out in an end-to-end game.
But their failure to utilise their scoring chances ensured the match ended 1-1 after full time, with the Nigeria National League (NNL) side advancing after a 3-1 penalty kicks win.
Gateway United dominated proceedings in the first half, with an offensive game which kept Premier League side on the backfoot for most moments of the half.
But, with Gateway United failing to take their chances, Sherrif Bashiru put Bayelsa United in the lead in the 66th minute.
The Abeokuta-based side grimly fought back and, in spite of their relative lack of experience, they drew level through Francis Olanrewaju in the 86th minute.
In the ensuing penalty kicks shootout, Gateway FC scored the three kicks they took.
Goalkeeper Godwin Ameh was their hero too, saving one shot, while Bayelsa United scored one and missed one, for a 3-1 ending.
Speaking with the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) at the end of the match, coach Solomon Ogboide of Bayelsa United said he was not disappointed with the performance of his team.
“It was a penalty shootout. It can go right and go the other way. My players actually played very well. We lost, but I am not sad.
“We will go back home to prepare and see what went wrong, but every coach’s aspiration is to win.’’
Gateway United’s captain, Idowu Olatunbosun, also told newsmen he was impressed with his team’s performance, even though it was not an easy match.
“There are lots of mistakes in football and that is the way football is. Today, we thank God that we won this match,’’ he said.
The defender was however that his team was able to fulfil its promise to Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun that they would return home with victory.
“We have promised our Governor that we will win this match which we did and we also promised that we will do better than this in the next match, and we will come out victorious,’’ Olatunbosun said.
Gateway United’s coach Henry Nwosu, while speaking with newsmen, however said he still has to work on his team to perform better in their quarter-final game next week.
“It was a hard-fought football match, and I thank God we were able to win. To be sincere, it was not an easy match.
“But I will work on the team. The way I saw them playing today match shows that I really need to work on them for the quarter-finals,’’ he said.
Nwosu however praised Bayelsa United team for their performance.
He also promised the government and people of Ogun that his team would win the competition and also gain promotion into the Premier League.
“Bayelsa United played very well, but we were luckier and better than them.
“But when I was employed I promised the government and people of Ogun the Federation Cup and that I will also take the team to the Premier League.
“By God’s grace, this will happen,” the coach said.(NAN)