Akwa United stun Niger Tornadoes in Lokoja
Akwa United produced a Five-star performance to beat Niger Tornadoes 1-2 in Lokoja on Matchday 4 of the Nigeria Professional Football League on Wednesday.
The victory is Akwa United’s first away win of the 2017/2018 NPFL season and saw them go joint top of the league with 9 points from four matches.
The Promise Keepers took the lead in the 23rd minute through defender Denis Nya who converted a penalty after a rough tackle on Adeshina Gata by Niger Tornadoes defender Ruben Ogonnaya.
Tornadoes got their equaliser in the 43rd minute from a free kick after Ojo Olorunleke was penalised for time wasting.
Striker Victor Mbaoma sealed the victory in the 74th minute when he headed in a rebound after Tornadoes goalkeeper Terka Melai had spilled the initial attempt by Kelly Kester.
Coach Abdu Maikaba made three changes to the team that beat Yobe Stars in Uyo. Etim Mathew made his debut at Right back, Godspower Igudia returned to the starting line up after recovering from illness while Adeshina Gata made his first start for the Promise Keepers.
Akwa United stamped their authority early into the match with some brilliant display and deservedly took control of the game, in a near flawless performance.
Aniekeme Asuquo, Adeshina Gata, Michael Ibe and Cyril Olisema were lively in the midfield and their early runs forced the host into their own half.
Fans at the Lokoja Confluence Stadium threw their weight behind the Promise Keepers and were duly rewarded for their support when Gata’s dazzling run put Tornadoes’ defense under pressure which resulted in a penalty.
Denis Nya made no mistake from the spot and gave his team the lead with his second goal of the season.
Despite dominating play for much of the first half, the Uyo based team were unable to translate their dominance into goals.
With three minutes to the end of the first half, goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke’s delaying tactics back fired and he was penalised for time wasting.
The referee awarded the home side a free kick inside Akwa United’s box. Midfielder Kelly Kester blocked the first attempt but the second effort beat Olorunleke as Tornadoes leveled the scores.
Coach Maikaba’s men continued their dominance in the second half and thrilled the fans with their Free flowing game.
Denis Nya, Godspower Igudia, Etim Mathew and Kodjovi Dadzie marshaled an uncompromising defense which repelled the home side’s attacks.
Striker Victor Mbaoma showed class in the 70th minute with a long range strike which beat Terka Melai in Tornadoes’ goal but only to be denied by the cross bar.
Four minutes later, the striker scored the winning goal, when he headed in a rebound after Terka Melai had fumbled Kelly Kester’s header.
Ubong Friday, Christian Pyagbara and Amaechi Orji were thrown into the fray and their contributions helped the Promise Keepers to record their first away win of the season.
It was the first meeting between the two sides after last year’s clash in the Aiteo Cup final in Lagos in which Akwa United won.
The Promise Keepers will next engage Kwara United of Ilorin on Sunday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.