By Sedara Philip
FC ONE Rocket came from behind to dump Vandrezzer FC out of the 2023 Akwa Ibom State FA Cup with a deserved 2-1 victory at the Akpabio International Stadium training pitch on Wednesday.
Vandrezzer FC who were initially drawn bye in the fixtures were unable to hold their own after going ahead from Olalekan Abdulsalam’s 30th-minute strike in the first half.
The Rockets scored twice in the second, first, a beautiful freekick by Clinton Jephta for the equalizer in the 56th minute.
FC ONE Rockets went ahead in the 72nd minute, Efe Kegbe’s cross was turned in by a VFC defender to send them to their first-ever FA Cup finals.
With six teams participating in the Akwa Ibom FA Cup sponsored by SME sports, Dakkada dumped Vandrezzer Academy out in the curtain raiser with a 2-1 victory but we’re yesterday dumped out by defending champions Akwa United in an intriguing penalty shoot out.
FC Rocket knocked out debutant, Regnant FC with a 2-0 victory with the win taking them to the clash against already drawn by fellow NNL side in Vandrezzer.
FC Rocket came into the second half with immediate threats at Niambele’s led Vandrezzer defense, their patience was soon rewarded with a sublime free-kick from Clinton Jephta with his rocket flying into the top left-hand corner to restore parity.
Former Vandrezzer man, Joshua Sunday piled more miseries on his former team who has had little push in front of goal with a clinical finish in the box after pouncing on a loosed ball from the right flank of VFC’s defense.
Ndubuisi Ndah’s team kept pushing for a third but couldn’t as VFC continued to mount pressure for an equalizer and we’re lucky not to lose the lead with David Essien on the rescue on multiple occasions.
After winning their NNL curtain raiser against Warri Wolves with a 2-1 scoreline, they grabbed the same result against VFC to book finals with Akwa United.
The rockets have now advanced to their first-ever AKS FA Cup final and also book a place in the national finals for the first time.
Speaking after the game, Ivorian coach Niambele admitted that it’s painful to lose.
“We tried our best for us to match them as best as we can but in football, anything can happen.
”With seven games, two wins so far since his appointment, “since I have been here, we just lost two plus this FA Cup and it’s disappointing as we wanted to go into the finals and book a national ticket but we couldn’t.”
“We lost, but we have to move on from the rest of the season, learn from the mistakes and carry on,” he concluded.