* Rivers United through to Round of 32

Duro Ikhazuagbe
The usual drama associated with FA Cups around the world continued yesterday as 2018 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, Lobi Stars of Makurdi, was sent out of the Round of 64 stage of the AITEO Federation Cup.

Lobi is to represent Nigeria in next season’s CAF Champions League after being declared winners of the 2018 NPFL season with over a dozen matches left to be played.

Amateur clubside, Standard FC stopped Lobi from dreaming of a double this season when after a 1-1 result in regulation time, the Kaduna team triumphed 3-2 on penalty shootout.
Interestingly, it was Standard that took the lead in the first half before the NPFL champions rallied to even score in the second stanza.

The drama of topflight teams crashing did not stop with Lobi. Lagos church team, MFM FC, also exited the competition in shootout.

Second-tier Bet9ja Nigeria National League team, Sokoto United defeated Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu and his NPFL campaigners 4-3 in the ensuing penalty kicks after regulation time ended goalless.

However, it was not all bad news for NPFL teams as River United who struggled to escape drop to the lower league in the 2017 season crushed a hapless Gusau XI 6-0 to progress to the Round of 32 at the Lafia City Stadium in Nasarawa State capital.

Bernard Ovoke was in fine form scoring four times as Rivers United totally annihilated Gusau Eleven.

Frederick Obomate and Malachy Ohawume contributed the other two goals for the Rivers State own team.

In another game whose second half was concluded yesterday morning, Kwara United defeated Ogun All Stars FC 3-1 to progress to the Round of 32 also.

Earlier on Sunday, Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan, Heartland Football Club of Owerri and Bendel Insurance FC of Benin City all crashed out of the competition.

Shooting lost to Supreme Court while the Naze Millionaires were caged by Confine FC. Insurance lost to Remo Stars Feeder team.

However, Cup holders Akwa United moved into next round of the competition with a comprehensive 7-0 drubbing of amateur club, Hope of Glory in their round of 64 tie.

In Port Harcourt, Akwa United showed their form as they completely outclassed Hope of Glory with Aniekeme Asuquo grabbing a hat-trick while the duo of Victor Mbaoma and Ezekiel Bassey scored a brace apiece.

Shooting Stars lost 5-4 on penalties to fellow Bet9ja Nigeria National League side, Supreme Court in Benin. The game ended in a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes.

Nationwide League one side, Cofine FC created one of the biggest upsets of the round by edging out Heartland 4-2 on penalties after the game finished 1-1 at regulation time.