AKWA UTD EXTEND UNBEATEN RUN TO SIX, PLAY BARREN DRAW IN JOS
Akwa United’s hopes of recording six straight victories in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) suffered a little set back in Jos as they were held to a goalless draw by Plateau United on Matchday 14 of the 2019/2020 Season.
The draw in Jos means the Promise Keepers have now gone unbeaten in six consecutive matches – five wins and one draw- under new head coach Kennedy Boboye and are fifth on the log with 23 points from 14 games.
The build up to the game was more on two coaches -Abdul Maikaba of Plateau United and Kennedy Boboye of Akwa United – who were facing their former clubs with which they won the NPFL title and the Aiteo Cup respectively in 2017.
Both coaches put their tactical prowess on the line and presented strong starting elevens for what was a top-of-the-table clash in Jos. Akwa United made just one change from the starting eleven that defeated Wikki Tourists in Uyo in mid-week. Vice-captain Godspower Igudia was preferred to Paul Obata.
The home side started the game brightly and should have taken an early lead but Ibrahim Mustapha and Oche Ochowechi lacked composure to hit the target. Plateau United dominated play in the first half and created some decent chances but could not find a way past Cameroonian goalkeeper Jean Efala in Akwa United’s goal.
Coach Boboye’s men had two attempts at goal in the first half but were unable to convert them. The Uyo-based side were forced to make a first half substitution following injury to Akarandut Orok who was replaced by Ocheme Edoh as they went into the break on level terms.
On resumption, Ocheme Edoh and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi interchanged nicely but their efforts in two quick attempts narrowly missed the target on both occasions.
Coach Boboye introduced Dare Ojo to replace Ifeanyi Ifeanyi and the midfielder was a stabilizing force for the Promise Keepers.
The home side stepped up their game and created few more chances in the second stanza but Jean Efala was in his element to keep out their efforts,making some breathtaking saves.
Frustrated by the resolute defending by Akwa United, Plateau United’s Ibrahim Mustapha decided to pull a trick.
Deep into stoppage time, the striker mischievously obstructed Efala from taking a goal-kick and snapped the ball away and tucked it into the back of the net, but the referee rightly cautioned the striker as the game ended in a stalemate.
With the result, Plateau United who began the day as league leaders slump to second on the log while Akwa United move down the log from fourth to fifth. The Promise Keepers will next engage Kwara United in Uyo on Wednesday while Plateau United will travel to Akure to battle Sunshine Stars on Matchday 15.