Abia Warriors became the first team to seal a place in the knock out stage of the South East/South South preseason tournament at Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium in Nnewi after an Ndifreke Effiong inspired 2-1 comeback win over Heartland.
Ndifreke’s power and pace proved just too much for the Naze Millionaires back line, slicing a delightful free kick midway into the second period to cancel out Nnamdi Egbuoji magnificent strike early on.
Heartland came into the party with their B team, but they served out a rendition of thrilling performance that bellied the second string team status.
Goalkeeper Agbo Ekoi had spilled a free kick onto the path of advancing Egbuoji, who fired home with the power of a rocket.
Ndifreke completed his brace on the night with a 73rd minute goal, handing the Rafael Everton charges six points from two matches and a semi-final ticket irrespective of the outcome of their last group game on Tuesday.
Rivers United with four points following a hard fought 1-0 win over impressive FC Inter, are second on the standings, with the prospect of going through if they won or drew today’s match against leaders Abia Warriors.
By Sab Osuji