Sporting Lagos emerged champions of the maiden edition of the Naija Super 8 after their 4-2 penalty shootout win over Remo Stars in the final at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos on Sunday.
With the stadium packed to its rafters, the fans were treated to a second match between Sporting Lagos and Remo Stars, who had met in the group stage, with Sporting Lagos emerging with the win in that clash.
The match started with Remo Stars dominating the opening proceedings, and only the woodwork prevented Isaac James from opening the scoring as he headed the ball goalwards following a cross into the box.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the first half as both sides played cautiously to try and cut out errors. Sporting Lagos goalkeeper Christian Nwoke was kept busy as he helped his side stay in the game.
The start of the second half sparked life into the game as Sporting Lagos opened the scoring after just eight minutes. A cross into the box was met by the head of Jonathan Alukwu following a huge leap, and his effort came back off the woodwork but fell to centre-back Aliu Salawudeen, who promptly smashed the ball in from close range, sparking wild celebrations.
Remo Stars tried to find an instant equaliser, but Sikiru Alimi saw his shot from the edge of the box go wide, as did Dayo Ojo.
Sporting Lagos continued to test the Sky Blue Stars, and goalkeeper Kayode Bankole had to pull off a terrific save to deny Alukwu, who had arrowed a half-volley goalwards.
Remo Stars manager Daniel Ogunmodede turned to his bench, sending on forward Adams Olamilekan in place of left-back Seun Ogunribide as the clock ticked on. The former Flying Eagles star was an instant menace as he showed good feet and great combination play.
With three minutes left of the 90, controversy struck in the game. Olamilekan fired home following a cross from Sodiq Ismail, but the assistant referee ruled out the effort for offside. On viewing the replay, it was clear that there was no offside in the build-up, but with a lack of VAR, the goal was chalked off.
Remo Stars continued to pile on the pressure and were eventually rewarded as their opponents finally cracked in added time. A cross-shot from Alimi was touched home by Olamilekan as two substitutes combined to send the game to a penalty shootout.
Sporting Lagos scored all four kicks of theirs while their goalkeeper Nwoke saved from Remo Stars captain Junior Nduka and Sodiq Ismail to crown his side the Naija Super 8 champions.