Abdulazeez Abdulsalam’s solitary goal was enough for Gateway United to defeat Almar FC and progress to 2019 Aiteo Cup round of 32 at Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan.
The Akeem Busari tutored side left nothing to chance in their search for an early goal which came into fruition in the 7th minute thanks to Abdulazeez Abdulsalam who rose highest to nod the ball past Dauda Emmanuel from Michael Okolo’s cross.
Almar FC grew stronger in the game and in the 14th minute Adamu Azeez was called to action with a full stretch to parry Ibrahim Kabiru’s righted footed strike in the box.
Three minutes after, it was up for Adamu Azeez to make a similar save from Michael Nkonu’s low shot from the edge of the box.
Almar’s flurry of attacks was then halted as Michael Okolo’s free-kick hit the crossbar, followed by Julius Ikechukwu’s 25-yard thunderbolt which was punched by Almar’s goalie Dauda Emmanuel.
It was Julius Ikechukwu who came close to doubling the lead again in the 38th minute with a low shot at the edge of the box but Dauda Emmanuel wasn’t caught unawares.
In the 46th minute, Godspower Igbah chested the ball to his right foot, picked a spot then fired a powerful shot but Daudu Emmanuel was well positioned to parry the ball out of danger.
With play resuming, the heavens opened and the heavy downpour almost made the turf soggy.
Almar then became a threat aerially with the introduction Samuel Ayanrinde upfront but Gateway’s three-man defence was up to the task.
In the 88th minute, Christian Samuel’s effort in front of the box found the back of the net but the referee rightfully spotted an offside in the build-up to the goal.
Gateway afterwards led on to the slim lead to beat Almar FC who had defeated them in the final of the 2019 Ogun FA Cup final via a 3-2 penalty shootout win.