Ibom Angels laboured to victory over Pelican Stars in the Aiteo Cup Quarter Final First Round and were indebted to Imaobong Emmanuel, who scored late on.
The midfielder headed in a corner in the fifth minute of stoppage time to hand Angels a deserved win.
A tense first-half saw Uduakobong Peter go closest to scoring, hitting a brilliant volley towards the visitors’ goal after beating the offside trap. Chinedu Iherika did well to parry the ball for a corner.
The hosts’ defence struggled to contain Blessing Edoho all evening. The Nigerian international embarked on a solo run from her own half, evading four Angels players, but a piece of good defending from Ibe Abidemi denied the 25-year-old a shooting chance.
A few moments later, Edoho caused panic at the Ibom Angels end when she slipped the ball to Pato Moses. The forward, despite being unmarked, blasted wide.
And, four minutes before the break, Emem Essien latched onto Peter’s through ball, only to be let down by her first touch.
Things got a lot better for the Uyo side in the second-half, as Ogbonda Whyte introduced Blessing Okpe to try to inject some urgency. The forward – who replaced the ineffective Joy Enamino – lived up to expectations, looking dangerous, especially with set pieces.
Unyime Johnson connected with Okpe’s cornerkick but couldn’t hit target, captain Joan Etenkpa should have scored when Iherika punched Okpe’s freekick into her path and Abidemi’s claim for a penalty was overlooked. And, at the other end, substitute Tawa Mustapha wasted a chance to put her side ahead when picked out by Edoho, as she fired wide of the far post from four yards.
There was another scare at the Angels end- on the stroke of 90 minutes. It was Edoho once again – this time, hitting a volley from 30-yards out. Lucky Andy, though, went down to stop the ball from rolling over her goal-line after fumbling the initial effort.
And with the game seemingly heading for a goalless draw, Emmanuel popped up to head in Okpe’s cornerkick to send the West Itam Sports Complex into rapture.
The sides will meet again at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, for the second leg on saturday.
ALL THE RESULTS FROM THE QUARTER FINAL FIRST LEG
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
•Abia Angels 1-0 Confluence Queens
⚽Yinka Taiwo 34′
•Bayelsa Queens 1-0 Nasarawa Amazons
⚽Aminat Yakubu 37′
•Ibom Angels 1-0 Pelican Stars
⚽Imaobong Emmanuel 90+5′
•Rivers Angels 0-0 Edo Queens