NPFL: Akwa United down Nasarawa in Uyo, climb to third
Adeshina Gata’s 9th minute strike helped Akwa United to a 1-0 victory over hard-fighting Nasarawa United on Matchday 12 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League match played on Monday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.
The Promise Keepers needed a win to move up to third position on the log and they got the all important goal through winger Adeshina Gata.
The winger calmly controlled Denis Nya’s deflected free kick inside the opponents box before firing beyond Ayeleso Suraj to give Akwa United the maximum three points.
Both teams started the game with great confidence and engaged each other in the early exchanges. The physicality of Nasarawa United players handed the home side five free kicks in the opening seven minutes of the game and one of the free kicks resulted in the only goal of the match.
Coach Abdu Maikaba handed Adeshina Gata and Aminu Nuhu their first start at home and the two U-20 invitees made the most out of the opportunity and contributed to their team’s victory.
After taking the lead, Akwa United dominated play in the first half but were unable to increase their goal tally as they went into the break with a 1-0 advantage.
The tempo of the game changed in the second half with both teams making series of attempts to score but were kept at bay by the resolute defending of the two back lines and the brilliance of the two goalkeepers Ojo Olorunleke and Ayeleso Suraj.
Aniekeme Asuquo and Michael Ibe missed their team’s best chances in the second half while Abu Ahmed and Aruna Abdulmumini were the culprits for the Lafia based side.
In a tactical substitution, Coach Maikaba introduced three attacking players in Musa Newman, Ubong Friday and Cyril Olisema but their efforts were not enough to add to their team’s tally.
Ubong Friday was shown a straight red card in the closing stages of the game for stamping on Abubakar Abdullahi.
With one man down, the Promise Keepers held on to record their sixth win of the season and move up to third place with 19 points from ten matches.
Akwa United will next face Al-Ittihad of Libya this weekend in the return leg of their CAF Confederation Cup match.
Moments before kick off, players of Akwa United displayed a giant banner, expressing gratitude to God for His love and Mercies to the team. They also thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel, the fans, supporters as well as the people of the state for their support to the team.
Below is how the NPFL table looks like after completion of matchday 12 games.