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Mercy Amanze Sends Rivers Angels To Federation Cup Semis

Women's Federation Cup holders Rivers Angels romped into the semi-finals with a 2-1 comeback victory against Bayelsa Queens in Thursday's quarter-final.

The defending champions showed character to come from behind after a superb Gabriel Ndengue's first-half strike pegged them back at the Akure Township Stadium.

But Rivers Angels equalised almost immediately through a Lola Philips' low finish.

Mercy Amanze then tapped Rivers Angels into the lead, a goal which later turned out to be the winner.

The first ten minutes was a tense, tactical affair with Rivers Angels failing to exploit their possession as Bayelsa Queens through the no nonsense Esther Udegbe were resolute at the back.

In a first quarter of free kicks, Cecilia Nku had her effort rattling the upright after good work from the gangling Lola Philips. At the other end, fast rising Rafiat Sule also won a set-piece, which Joy Bokiri wasted.

Rivers Angels' wing-backs Sherifat Saheed and Ebere Ngozi worked tirelessly to contain Bayelsa Queens' wingers Adeola Adeniran and Prudent Ugoh, limiting Joy Bokiri's contribution as the orthodox striker.

The workaholic Esther Udegbe deserves an award for the way she marshalled the back-four, while Lola Philips got her applause from the hard to please Akure fans.

Bayelsa Queens showed how to defend against Rivers Angels' star-studded attack with their deep-lying defence quickly closing down the three-times in a row Federation Cup winners.

Ebere Orji was the chief tormentor in the first 30 minutes and she threatened with a probing run into the area before her final shot was charged down.

Bayelsa Queens put the Rivers Angels defence under pressure three minutes after the after hour mark - and they were rewarded when the fast improving Gabriel Ndengue gave the former league champions the lead with a thunderbolt of a shot which gave Charity John no chance as it hit the top left-hand corner.

The lead lasted just under six minutes as Soma Oraegbuam was released on the right wing and her cross was met by Lola Philips who beat the goalkeeper with a fierce shot. The relief from the Rivers Angels camp was palpable as the fair-skinned player also known by admirers as "Lolly Bright" equalised.

The goals breathed life into the match as space suddenly opened up for both teams to attack. Bayelsa Queens had their chances after when Rafiat Sule set-up her team mates to no avail,

First half of the match of the round lived up to expectation as the two teams entertained the football loving Akure fans.

Evelyn Nwabuoku's trademark long range free kick from the centre was well saved by Favour in goal for Bayelsa Queens.

Wing dazzler Mercy Amanze then put the defending champions in the last four when she sent a bullet into the left post from 38 yards.

At the end, the over 700 fans had value for monies well spent, as Rivers Angels qualified for the semi-final of the 2014 edition of the competition.

 

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