3rd Ekwueme Tico/Select Pre-season Tourney: Stephen’s early strike hands title to Heartland

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Heartland FC are the champions of the 3rd Ifeanyi Ekwueme Tico/Select Pre-season Tournament after they pipped Abia Warriors in the final played this evening at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.

The Naze Millionaires defeated Lamray United 3-2 in the semi-final while Abia Warriors eliminated Enugu Rangers 5-4 on penalties after the regulation time had ended 1-1. Both games were played in Owerri.

In the final, it was Heartland FC that started brightly and were rewarded with the curtain-raiser in their first major incursion into Abia Warriors’ territory and Ikenna Stephen was credited with the opener in the ninth minute.

Abia Warriors improved their game after they went behind. They moved the ball better and retained possession too but their undoing was their inability to convert the chances that came their way.

Chances went begging while Goalkeeper, Femi Thomas rose to the occasion to keep Heartland FC in the game when Abia Warriors tried to equalise.

Heartland FC through Chukwudi Nwaodu lifted the giant trophy after the medal presentations.

It was a weeklong tournament that ensured that the NPFL in attendance had game opportunities to test the level of their preparedness for the season which is expected to start on December 17.

Chidiebere Nwobodo of Enugu Rangers with seven goals was the highest scorer at the end of the tournament and one of the most outstanding players of the tournament.

The tournament is sponsored by former Polish-based Super Eagles midfielder, Ifeanyi Ekwueme with technical support from Tico/Select sport-wears manufacturing companies based in Poland and Denmark respectively.

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