AKWA UTD, WARRIORS IN BARREN DRAW
Akwa United and Abia Warriors settled for goalless draw on Matchday 2 of the Nigeria Professional Football League match played at the Godswill Akpabio international stadium in Uyo, Thursday afternoon.
The match was the Promise Keepers’ first home match of the new NPFL season following a 1-1 draw away to Warri Wolves on the opening day. It was the fifth consecutive draw between the two sides in the NPFL in three seasons.
Coach John Obuh in his first home game in charge of Akwa United, made three changes to the team that drew in Warri on matchday 1. Sampson Gbadebo, Ubong Friday and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi were handed their first start of the season.
Shortly before kick-off, last season’s joint top scorer Mfon Udoh showed his Eunisell Boots Award he won at the end of last season to the fans and supporters of the club and was hugly appreciated.
Both teams engaged each other early on and struggled to create chances. In the 9th minute, Paul Obata freed Mfon Udoh with a through ball, and the striker’s low drive was comfortably saved by Godsgift El-Kanah.
Abia Warriors had a sniff at goal in the 16th minute when Jimoh Oni’s long range strike was tipped over the bar by Adewale Adeyinka. Moments later, Ubong Friday headed Etim Mathew’s cross from the right off target.
The Promise Keepers had three chances in the last 15 minutes of the first half but we’re unable to convert them. In the 30th minutes, Ubong Friday and Kodjovi Dadzie interchange nicely to locate Mfon Udoh but the striker’s final pass which was intended for Dare Ojo who was in a better position to score was well defended.
Abia Warriors’ goalkeeper Godsgift El-Kanah punched Paul Obata’s free-kick into the path of Mfon Udoh. The striker’s cross into the box appeared to have hit the hand of Austin Obaroakpo in the box, despite shouts for penalty, the referee waved play on.
On the stroke of half time, Kodjovi Dadzie rose the highest to nod down Morice Chukwu’s free-kick inside the box. Mfon Udoh’s tame effort was smartly gathered by El-Kanah as the first half ended goalless.
Coach John Obuh’s men started the second half from where they left off the first. In the 57th minute, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi raced to pick up a long ball on the left flank and delivered it into the vital area but Dare Ojo’s final touch agonisingly went over the top.
Coach Obuh replaced Dare Ojo, Ubong Friday and Paul Obata with Christian Ekong, Aniekeme Asuquo and Ocheme Edoh in the second half of the game but their contributions did not yield positive results.
Akwa United best chances of the second stanza went the way of Mfon Udoh, both from set pieces but he was unable to hit the target on both occasions as they settled for one point apiece.
Assessing his team’s performance after the game, Coach John Obuh expressed disappointment over the outcome of the game and attributed it to overconfident on the part of his players.
“This is not the result we wanted, it is very clear that we had a bad day. I talked with my players before the game and they assured me that they will win the match. I think that they may have been overconfident.
“We won’t allow this result to affect our focus and target for the season, we have to continue to work hard so we can get to where we want to be” said Coach Obuh.
Coach of Abia Warriors Emmanuel Deutcsh expressed delight and said he came to frustrate the plans of the Promise keepers.
“Akwa United is a very good side, so, we didn’t want to leave anything to chance. We came here to frustrate them believing that we can get at least a point from the way we played. We are glad that we will be going back home with a valuable one point” Coach Deutcsh boasted
Akwa United will next travel to Aba for matchday 3 game against Enyimba international on Sunday.