Mfon Udoh’s 88th minute penalty proved decisive as Akwa United recorded a 1-0 victory over Abia Warriors in a pre-season friendly played at the training pitch of the Nest of champions in Uyo on Saturday afternoon.
The match was Coach Rafael Everton’s first home game in charge of his new team, after losing 1-0 in Owerri against Heartland FC last weekend.
The Brazilian tactician fielded a strong team against a determined Abia Warriors side.The visitors were the better side in the first half after creating good goal scoring chances but their frontmen were unable to hit the target.
The Promise Keepers backline marshalled by Captain Otobong Effiong, Godspower Igudia, Denis Nya and Juwon Oshaniwa provided solid cover for goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke who was in superb form to deal with all the visitors threats.
Coach Everton made some tactical changes before half time and that brought stability into the team as the first half ended goalless.
Akwa United increased the tempo of their game in the second half and took the game to their visitors. Mfon Udoh, Ezekiel Bassey, Alberico Da Silva and Paul Obata all went close to giving their team the lead but their efforts were successfully defended by the visitors.
The persistent pressure by the Promise Keepers paid off in the 88th minute when Ousmane Gueye was fouled in the box by Abia Warriors defender and the referee rightly awarded a penalty to Akwa United. Mfon Udoh stepped up and scored splendidly to secure the win.
Addressing his players after the game, coach Rafael Everton expressed dissatisfaction over his team’s performance and urged the to sit up in subsequent matches.
Akwa United who are preparing for the new NPFL season will on Sunday square up with Rivers United at the training pitch of the Nest of champions by 4pm for another pre-season friendly.