By James Agberebi (Photo by Ganiyu Yusuf): Akwa United have emerged winners of the 2017 Aiteo Cup following their 3-2 penalty shootout win against Niger Tornadoes at the Agege Stadium on Sunday.
After 90 minutes of a keenly contested match both teams failed to break the deadlock.
The win means Akwa have now won the Aiteo Cup for the second time after their first title in 2015.
They will also represent Nigeria alongside Enyimba at next season’s CAF Confederation Cup.
And for emerging winners Akwa were rewarded with the cash prize of N25 million.
Present at the 2017 edition were Confederation of Africa Football President Ahmad Ahmad, NFF President Amaju Pinnick, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello and Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr.
Tornadoes had the game’s first chance through Abdullahi Wakili who fired over the bar from inside Akwa United’s box.
In the 12th minute, Tornadoes won a free-kick in a promising area but Reuben Ogbonnaya struck his effort wide.
Akwa’s Musa Newman failed to take advantage of a through pass his first touch let him down in the 30th minute.
In the 43rd minute, Tornadoes had the game’s best chance but Ojo Olorunleke got down quickly to make a smart save.
And in the final minute of the first half, Akwa United were awarded a free-kick which Ifeanyi Ifeanyi curled way over Tornadoes’ defensive wall.
In the 54th minute, Wakili was presented with a chance but could not convert Hussaini Isah’s cross towards goal.
Home-based Eagles star Afeez Aremu had a chance to put Akwa ahead in the 65th minute but fired his effort from a free-kick over the bar.
With five minutes left Akwa’s Okechukwu was presented with his side’s best chance but lifted his effort over the bar with the keeper to beat after beating the offside trap.
The shootout was a poor one, with each side missing three kicks before Gabriel Okechukwu scored the first sudden death kick for Akwa United.