AKWA UTD DOWN LOBI STARS TO MOVE INTO TOP HALF OF THE TABLE

AKWA UTD DOWN LOBI STARS TO MOVE INTO TOP HALF OF THE TABLE

MFON PATRICK

Akwa United’s Legend Akarandut Orok continued his blistering form in front of goal with his third goal in three successive games to help his side to a 1-0 win over Lobi Stars at the Godswill Akpabio international stadium in Uyo.

Orok smashed home the decisive goal from close range after Lobi Stars’ goalkeeper Ocheje Moses had saved Ndifreke Effiong’s spot kick in the 52nd minute.

The victory was the Promise Keepers’ third straight win under new Coach Kennedy Boboye and the team’s fourth of the season. It has propel the Uyo based side to 8th position on the log with 16 points from 11 matches.

Coach Boboye made just one change to the team that defeated Dakkada FC on matchday 10, with Morice Chukwu starting ahead of Dare Ojo in midfield. The former Go-Round FC midfelider has established a formidable partnership with Ifeanyi Ifeanyi in the middle of the pack.

A purposeful start by the Promise Keepers yielded a gilt-edged chance early on. Aniekeme Asuquo powerful long-ranger unsettled Ocheje Moses in Lobi Stars’s goal but he recovered well to gather at a second attempt.

Ubong Friday and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi interchanged nicely in the 18th minute and the former delivered a delightful low cross into the box but there was no one to benefit from it.

The Promise Keepers’ possessive game and persistent pressure put the visitor’s on the back foot. Aniekeme Asuquo missed a glorious chance in the 25th minutes, when he spooned his effort after Akarandut Orok’s brilliant pass inside the box.

Morice Chukwu drew a smart save from Ocheje Moses in the 36th minute. The goalkeeper stood his ground to make a double save to deny Chukwu whose long-ranger was heading towards the far post as the two sides went into the break on level terms.

Coach Kennedy Boboye’s men piled on the pressure in the second half and got their due reward in the 51st minute when Aniekeme Asuquo’s pass was handled in the box by Ernest Governor.

Striker Ndifreke Effiong took the responsibility but his spot kick was saved by Ocheje Moses. Efforts to clear the lose ball by Lobi Stars defense was unsuccessful and in-form striker Akarandut Orok was at the right place at the right time to smash it home from close range to send the fans into cloud nine.

Moments later, the Promise Keepers should have doubled their advantage when Aniekeme Asuquo broke free and pick out Ndifreke Effiong in a one-on-one situation with Moses, but the striker decided to cut it back to Ubong Friday and the swift move was cleared before the winger could get close.

Akwa United Cameroonian goalkeeper Jean Efala was on holiday for much of the game but was in his element when called into action in the second half.

Akwa United wasted a great opportunity to increase their lead in the 66th minute when Morice Chukwu freed Akarandut Orok but the striker’s powerful drive went inches over the bar.

Coach Boboye threw Emmanuel Charles, Wisdom Fernando and Dare Ojo into the game towards the end but their contributions yielded no dividend but they were able to successfully protect their one goal advantage as they record their fourth win in ten NPFL games.

Akwa United will next have a date with Jigawa Golden Stars at their adopted home in Kano on matchday 12 on the 5th of January, 2020, while Lobi Stars will host Sunshine Stars of Akure in Makrudi on the same day.

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