By Oluwole Francis
Abia Angels progressed to the semi-final of the 2017 Aiteo Cup following a 2-2 draw against Confluence Queens FC of Lokoja in the return leg match at the weekend.
The Aba-based side were on the verge of elimination from the competition after going two goals down at the Confluence Stadium but they produced a superb performance in the closing period to qualify 3-2 on aggregate.
Confluence Queens who lost the first leg clash 1-0 in Umuahia started the game with positive intent, though they were very wasteful.
Petit winter Abibat Agbaji beat the offside trap but volleyed over Monle Omini in the 12th minute.
The New Direction Queens dominated possession but lack of cutting edge was their major nemesis.
Ifeoma Polinus ventured forward and saw her wicked shot tipped over by the busy Omini.
The hosts were finally rewarded in the 27th minute when they bagged the first goal. Ozunuchi Amaewhule finished up a brilliant build up initiated by Agbaji.
Lola Philips had the chance to double the lead after she stole the ball from Barnabas Blessing but the forward’s effort was blocked by Omini.
Despite creating more than five clear cut chances in the first half, Confluence Queens had one goal to show for their efforts as both sides headed to the dug out.
Four minutes after recess, the rampaging Agbaji delivered a deadly cross to Polinus who showed appreciation with an excellent finish.
Abia Angels started to come out of their shells following the second goal by Confluence Queens.
Ada Okey made a great run to the box following a neat interchange by Vivian Okechukwu and Barnabas. Ada’s low shot was saved by Ruth Sunday.
Agbaji and Lola were guilty of easy misses within the space of six minutes as the scoreline stood at 2-0 in favour of the home side.
Abia Angels reduced the deficit in a bizarre fashion through Ikechukwu with seven minutes left on the clock.
The comeback was completed as substitute Nwamaka got on the end of a floated ball by Aluba Ogba to poke home past the helpless Sunday at first minute of additional time.
With elimination starring in the face of Confluence Queens, they tried every means to at least score one more goal and take the game to penalty shootouts but Abia Angels held on to qualify.