Imo FA Cup 2024: Ikukuoma FC Makes History As First-Timer, Dumps Heartland On Penalties

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..Sets Up Rookies Final With Fr Eburuaja FC

..As TM, Dike Dedicates Success To Club President, Discipline

First timers, Ikukuoma football club of Mbaise on Tuesday compounded the woes of Heartland FC when they against all odds knocked out the former Federation Cup champions from this year’s Imo state FA Cup on penalties after a 2-2 full time in one of the semi finals decided at the Old Township stadium, Owerri.

The Mbaise blues as they are fondly called  drew the first blood in the 9th minute through Martins Nkwo’s spot kick after one of the Heartland defenders handled the ball inside their box in an attempt to clear a dangerous in swinger to give Ikukuoma the lead.

The Naze Millionaire’s new sensation Ikechukwu Mgbemena found the leveler in the 34th minutes with brilliant shot from outside the box to keep the score at 1-1.

Ikukuoma’s dead ball specialist, Okeke Chinaza came to the party on the day as he restored the lead for the Mbaise based side again from a close range free kick that beat Godwin Paul of Heartland just before the end the first half.

The second half saw less action and more drama as Heartland’s lanky and bullish striker, Onyedikachi Okafor received his matching orders from the center referee for retaliation and violent behavior on the pitch there bye reducing Heartland to 10 men.

The reduction in numerical figures had no effect on the  desperation of the premier league side to find a leveler as Heartland’s persistency paid off in the dying minutes of the game when the Naze Millionaires finally found the leveler again at stoppage time as Timothy Afolabi lobbed the ball beyond the keepers reach after gliding past the defender to deny the Mbaise side a full time win and extend the games to penalty shootout.

During the penalties and it ended 4-3 on penalties as Ikechukwu Mgbemena and Heartland Captain, Nnaemeka Anyanwu failed to convert from the spot to help the Mbaise blues make history as the first team to displace Heartland football club from representing the state at the national level.

Reacting to questions after the tension soaked encounter, the Clubs Team Manager, Chuks Dike said;

“Truely i am speechless and i want to appreciate God for this beautiful opportunity. Special thanks also goes to our club president, High Chief Dr Summers Nwokie (Ikukuoma Mbaise) who has ensured that the boys are well motivated and you can see for yourself how it has helped team get to this stage.

“The President Dr Summers is a disciplinarian, the DG is a disciplinarian and of course i have always been a man of discipline even as a player. So we make sure we infuse discipline in the team. Reasons why my team will not react negatively to the fracas that ensued here.

 

“We do our reaction on the pitch with the ball and on the final day, i assure you that Ikukuoma FC will be standing before the trophy as Imo FA champions” Dike concluded.

Ikukuoma FC will be take on Fr Eburuajah FC in the finals of the Imo FA cup this weekend as directed by NFF to all State FA’s.