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Soccer News of Friday, 30 May 2003

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LG Tournament: Eagles beat Stars

A largely unknown team of Super Eagles yesterday in Abuja rallied to a dramatic 3-1 victory over an even more unknown Black Stars in the LG Electronics Cup and would now on Sunday in Lagos gun for the Cup held by Iran.

Ghana shot into the lead just two minutes into the game when a defensive error, following a seeming lack of communication saw an Eagles defender head the back the ball, beating keeper Greg Etafia and onrushing Ghana?s attacker, Agyemany Patrick just helped the ball in. It was a goal that inspired the Ghanaians and they started enjoying greater control.

They passed the ball around well and that thrilled the Abuja fans, who started cheering them. The game continued that way till the end of the first half. The much fans saw of Eagles was not in the attack but in the right back position manned by Abey George, who plays in the Nationwide League, England. His play reminded fans of Reuben Agboola. His passes were precise and his defending remarkable.

On resumption of the second half, Eagles looked rejuvenated. They earned a penalty and Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who will play in the Premiership netted the ball. He was to increase the tally to 2-1 in the 71st minute. At this time the fans were already dancing, celebrating the good play of the largely unknown Eagles. Coach Christian Chukwu has continued the rebuilding of the national team, using many unknown players.

"We are looking for replacements for the players leaving the national team, those who will take over from some of the ones leaving soon," Chukwu hinted of the team for the LG Electronics Cup. The game yesterday showed that he has found one in Abey. The defender won the hearts of the fans with his precise play and enterprising moves into the attack. His complextion is almost white and his play was English. Chukwu has found a player in Abey. He was the revelation of yesterday?s game. Minabo Mineche, who dyed his hair was the opposite. His play was awful, just as his hair was. Bina Ajuwa scored the third goal for the Eagles four minutes to full time. Bob Osim, a home-based player was good and should be among the players to command positions in the team. Ifeanyi Udeze made his usual dribbling runs from the back and Everton?s Joseph Yobo captained the side.

Christian Chukwu was happy for the victory and is now gunning for the Cup which will fetch the Eagles $50,000. The runners up will go home with $30,000 and the third finishers $20,000.

Austin "Jay Jay" Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu earlier taunted to be on parade were conspicuously absent.

Super Eagles will meet Cameroon, who beat Iran 2-1 in Lagos.

Sponsor of the tournament LG Electronics was founded in 1958 under the name of Goldstar Co. Ltd. As the pioneer electronics company in Korea, LG Electronics succeeded in developing radio, refrigerators, TVs, air conditioners, and washing machines for the first time. In 1995, the company changed its name from Goldstar to LG Electronics in order to establish a new brand identity that suited the company's global ambitions.

Teams: Ghana - 1-Edward Ansah, 18-Emmanuel Frimpong, 11-Bashir Gambo, 8-Joseph Takwe (13-Felix Baffoe), 15-Williams Tairo, 5-Emmanuel Papoye, 14-Moses Aba, 9-Daniel Edusei, 10-Patrick Agyeman (9-Theophilus), 12-Yusuf Ansah, 6-Williams Antwe.

Nigeria - 12-Greg Etafia, 6-Joseph Yobo, 3-Ifeanyi Udeze, 9-Abbey George, 8-Ekpe Ikong (2-Bob Usim 30), 7-Ahmed Garba, 14-Uche Ugochukwu (Benabo Menabo), 18-Yakubu Aiyegbeni, 4-Christian Obodo (10-Emmanuel Godwin 85), 13-Joseph Enakhire, 11-Pina Ajuwa.
Referee: P.Agidisu.