The 2023 TCC Cup came to a perfect climax following a four-goal thriller between finalists Gbagada FC and Valiant FC.
It was a game of two halves as Gbagada FC let a 2-0 lead slip to lose 6-5 on penalties to the excellent Valiant FC at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on Saturday evening.
In a highly competitive Cup final between the Lagos-based though, the youthful Valiant delivered a performance that represented their name.
The Cup final was decided on penalties as there was nothing to separate both sides following an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Gbagada fumbles the bag
A strong start from the Blue Eagles saw them dominate the first-half and looked comfortable heading into the break.
As early as the fifth minute, Gbagada made their intentions known when they netted the game’s opening goal.
The reliable Wasiu Balogun was precise with his delivery and Issa Jamiu made no mistakes with his header for the breakthrough.
Valiant responded superbly to going behind and came close to an equaliser three minutes later but Abiodun Toheeb’s header was just over the bar.
While there were other half-chances thereafter, it was Gbagada who scored again to double their lead just before the break.
This time, Segun Alfred finished with a stunning effort from 25 yards to give Gbagada what looked like a comfortable lead.
Valiant fight back
A different Valiant walked into the pitch in the second half of the TCC Cup and turned the game around in a remarkable fashion.
As in the opening game, there was an early goal in the second but this time, Valiant pulled one back eight minutes into the restart.
A brilliant team move is tapped into the net to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
Valiant pushed for a second and their persistence paid off 14 minutes from time courtesy of another good move but with help from the Gbagada goalkeeper, who was beaten in his near post.
The penalty shootout
The final minutes of the game saw both sides look to steal the game in the dying minutes but to no avail as the game would go into a shootout.
Both teams were superb in their first five kicks as they converted expertly leading to sudden death, with Gbagada missing their first kick to hand Valiant the title.
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