Santana FC emerged as champions of the Ratels/Benue State Football League after they stung Aeson FC 3-2 on penalties in the final played at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi on Friday afternoon.
It was misses galore on the part of Aeson in the first half. They were completely dominant and should have easily gone at least four up at the break.
Striker Orshi Peter nutmegged his marker but failed to beat the stranded keeper in the 5th minute.
Santana keeper Pel Wilfred came off the line to deny Luga Vincent from point blank. The advancing defender should have lobbed the keeper but he elected to go for the grounder.
Aeson’s Kakewo Anthony missed a sitter. He dribbled two defenders before firing wide.
It continued to be Aeson who created the opportunities as Pev Wilfred scrambled Adejo’s right footed strike away.
Orshi Peter missed a sitter late in the first stanza. Goalkeeper Onya Samuel spilled the ball but the striker surprisingly blasted it wide.
First half ended 0-0 in Makurdi.
Chances was at a premium as the fans urged the two teams to go for the jugular.
There was a big moment for Aeson as Adejo Solomon worked some space just inside the Santana box before dribbling goalkeeper Pev Wilfred and fired wide.
Substitute Anozie Samuel proceeded on series of stepovers and beat his marker, the cross from the winger evaded Terver Felix in the Santana box.
Within two minutes, two goals was scored in the match.
Santana found the breakthrough, and it was Alaka ThankGod who got it. He collected the ball with his back to goal before firing it to the roof on 77 minutes.
Aeson picked themselves up and attacked in numbers, Luga Vincent was illegally brought down by Idoko Joseph in the box. The left back dusted himself up to level from the spot.
Makurdi based Aesen looked certain to be in the lead when Anozie Samuel played the ball into the path of Adejo Solomon, who wa two-on-one with the keeper and duly slipped the pass to Terver Felix for what looked like a simple tap-in, but goalkeeper Pev Wilfred came flying.
The match had to be decided on penalties after it was all square at full time.
Pev Wilfred was the hero for Santana as he produced two saves in the shootouts.
Santana won 3-2 on penalties to emerge as Ratels/Benue State Football League champions.
Champions Santana FC were rewarded with the sum of #200,000 courtesy of Ratels Foundation. Second placed Aesen went home with #150,000 for their efforts. Hon Godwin Edoh Academy picked up #100,000 for placing third.
Ratel branded balls and jerseys were presented to first, second, third and fourth teams respectively at the closing ceremony.