Friday, 2 August 2013

Pelican Stars upset form books to qualify at the expense of Delta Queens

Youthful side Pelican Stars bundled out Delta Queens in one of the quarter finals NFF Fed Cup ties played in Abuja.

Coach Egan's team raised their game in the time-honoured fashion of underdogs everywhere, and outplayed their more celebrated opponents from the first minute to the last to reach the semi-finals of the Fed Cup after losing out to FC Robo in the previous edition.

Coach Dan Evumena said: "Pelican Stars played well and we didn't. On the day, they were undoubtedly the better team. We never really got to grips with the game.

Evumena's disappointment was palpable, and no wonder. Delta Queens were odds-on favourites, and not just because they were the league champions. The numbers, too, were heavily in their favour.

Egan deployed what amounted to a back four, using Bukola as an ersatz skimmer on the left to mark Ngozi Okobi, but it was hardly belt and braces stuff. Quite the contrary, they were on the front foot throughout.

Delta Queens flurried early on, when Eke Maureen and Ugwuadu Faustina threatened Alaba Jonathan, the custodian of Pelican Stars.

Pelican seized the initiative and had the lead they deserved after 13 minutes, when Chiwendu Ihezuo turned a shot to the far corner of the post.

And after 33 minutes the Delta Queens fans were in dreamland when Ngozi Okobi, set up Ugwuadu Faustina, who made it 1-1 with a sumptuous strike, sidefooting the ball low inside Alaba's right-hand post from the edge of the box.

The game was tied at halftime, but Egan could not accept that, of course, and he reverted to a 4-3-3 system,ditching the 4-2-4 pattern. Esther Sunday was made the playmaker behind Chiwendu. It produced the desired effect, Uche Kalu and Sunday netted one goal each in the last ten minutes.

For Delta Queens it was that sort of day and Pelican Stars remained comfortably in control, with Eyehoria Winifred and Ogunnoiki Bukola impressively industrious in midfield.

Coach Egan said: "You have to be at your very best to beat Delta Queens and we were today (Thursday). Not only did we play well, we had incredible concentration levels. We defended well and we were sharp getting to the second balls, we coped with the threat from Delta Queens, and to score three goals at the Area C in the manner that we did made is a complete performance.

Team Line Ups

Delta Queens; Mbalisi Ezinne, Nwoko Maria, Abiodun Kemi, Ofoegbu Oluchi, Ohale Osinachi, Okafor Uju, Iwuagu Akudo, Eke Maureen, Ugwuadu Faustina, Okobi Ngozi, Ibrahim Halimatu.

Pelican Stars; Alaba Jonathan, Okafor Ugochi, Edoho Blessing, Ogunnoiki Bukola, Umeh Rose, Joseph Vivian, Opara Chimebere, Eyehoria Winifred, Ihezuo Chiwendu, Esther Sunday, Kalu Uche.