Wikki Tourists of Bauchi forced Akwa United FC to a draw, their second in three home games, as Matchday 5 of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Monday.
Basking in the euphoria of thier 1-1 draw away at Kwara United last Wednesday, Kennedy Boboye’s men had hoped a win for them will propel them to the top half of the table.
They effected just a change to the side that got the point in Ilorin, with Samuel Amadi replacing Ubong Essien. Head coach of the visiting side, Usman Abdallah kept faith with the side that egded Rivers United on Matchday 4.
The Promise Keepers drew first blood on 25 minutes, when Ndifreke Effiong took advantage of a poor clearance by goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabili, to roll the ball slowly in for the opener.
Ikechukwu Nwani could have doubled his side’s advantage nine minutes before the break, but failed to make it count from a one-to-one situation, after being sent clear by Seth Mayi.
The home side got punished for their laxity in front of goal, as a quick counter got to Nazifu Yahaha, who looped to Chinedu Udeagha. The former Rangers playmaker curled in beautifully from 20 yards to level terms for his side.
Despite rejigging his team for the second half with the introduction of Wisdom Fernando, Christian Asthimene, Mfon Udoh and Akrandut Orok, Abdallah’s men frustrated every move made by the host.
The home side had Promise Damala to thank for not putting the visitors in front on 56 minutes, when he robbed Sampson Gbadebo of the ball inside the penalty area, but managed a poor shot wide.
Akwa United taught they had taken the lead again in 59 minutes through Christian Asthimene. Etim Matthew had pounced on Nwabili’s poor handling of Ndifreke Effiong’s 20 yards freekick, before squaring to Asthimene, who tapped in, but was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
Boboye’s men were lucky not to go behind three minutes from time, when Jean Efala stretched at full length to parry Udeagha’s 30 yards effort for a corner.
Four minutes into stoppage time, Ndifreke Effiong could have won it for the Promise Keepers, but his 10 yards low drive drifted inches off target as both sides shared the spoils.
In a chat with www.npfl.ng after the match, Abdallah heaped praises on his lads, while lamenting it was a game his side should have won.
“We lost three points here. It is a game we should have won. The opponent (Akwa Utd) were very technical and we had a perfect game plan to contain them. We created a lot of chances, but could not take advantage of them at the critical point”, he said.
The result move Akwa United to 12th on the log, while Wikki are placed 16th.
Akwa Utd XI:
Efala, Etim, Kodjovi, Elu, Okafor, Gbadebo, Friday, Amadi, Ikenna, Effiong
Nwabili, Abalogu, Arinze, Maiyaki, Ambrose, Adamu, Idris, Udeagha, Nazifu, Matthew, Damala
On Target 5-3
Fouls Won 21-17