Akwa United held out to beat Abia Warriors 2-1 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Saturday afternoon, to notch up their first victory of the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League campaign.
United showed their early intention to pick three points. Ikechukwu Nwani powered past Ibukun Harrison but his cross had too much on it for Seth Mayi in the third minute.
Three minutes later, the curtain raiser arrived. Ndifreke Effiong scored from close range after Nwani’s effort was allowed through a sea of players.
Ndifreke’s effort from 25 yards rattled Vincent Edafe’s cross bar as United pressed to double their advantage.
The forward looked really charged up against his former employers. He had another effort from 20 yards comfortably saved by Edafe.
There was almost an equaliser for Abia Warriors in the 26th minute. Nzube Anaezemba’s acrobatic volley was brilliantly kept out by goalkeeper Jean Efala.
From the corner, the ball was worked to Ibukun Harrison at the far post and he applied an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net for the equaliser.
Andrenaline started boiling in the entertaining fixture. Suleiman Shaibu, the goalkeeper trainer of Abia Warriors was sent off by the centre referee.
First of the epic battle ended 1-1 at the Nest of Champions.
Akwa United made two changes at the break. Wisdom Fernando and Ubong Friday were in for Samuel Amadi and Morice Chukwu.
There was a good passage of play by Akwa with combination between Wisdom Fernando and Ndifreke but the final ball was missed by Ikechukwu Nwani.
Three minutes before the hour mark, a penalty kick was awarded to Akwa United after goalkeeper Vincent Edafe upended substitute Fernando inside the box.
Ndifreke Effiong scored from the penalty spot to give United the lead for the second time in the game.
In the 65th minute, Fatai Abdullahi received the ball from Lukman Bello and he fired from range to Jean Efala.
After scoring twice in the game, Ndifreke Effiong struck the cross bar again. His effort from 20 yards came off the frame.
It was almost a hattrick for Ndifreke Effiong as he latched onto Jean Efala’s ball. Edafe lost his footing but Effiong shot wide from a very narrow angle with open net gaping.
There was almost an equaliser for Abia Warriors in the first minute of additional time. Fatai Abdullahi’s effort came off the foot of the post.
With the result, Akwa United picked up their first maximum points of the season. For Abia Warriors, they are pointless after three games.
How They Lined Up
Akwa United: Jean Efala, Mathew Etim, Kodjovi Dadzie, Morice Chukwu (Wisdom Fernando 46′), Olisa Ndah (Samson Gbadebo 25′), Charles Okafor, Seth Mayi, Ndifreke Effiong, Ikechukwu Nwani (Akarandut Orok 83′), Ubong Essien, Samuel Amadi (Ubong Friday 46′)
Subs Not Used: Samson Gbadebo, Marshall Johnson, Otobong Effiong, Mfon Udoh, Sadick Abass
Abia Warriors: Vincent Edafe, Markson Ojobo, Innocent Gabriel, David Ogar, Ibukun Harrison (Felix Osia 84′), Adekunle Adeleke, Samson Paul (Dennis Kingsley 70′), Fatai Abdullahi, Utibe Arit Archibong (Bello Lukman 56′), Nzube Anaezemba (Samuel Christian 70′), Chukwuemeka Obioma (Victor Alegbe 84′)
Subs Not Used: Olorunleke Ojo, Jean Parfait, Tekena Garando, Victor Alegbe, Mustapha Jibril