As part of their preparations for the commencement of the 2018 Aiteo Cup tournament, defending champions Akwa United played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with Rivers United in a friendly decided at the training pitch of the Godswill Akpabio international stadium in Uyo on Wednesday.
It was Akwa United’s first grade A friendly against an NPFL side since the league went on break on June 10th and the subsequent abrupt end to the season.
Both teams underlined the importance of the match by fielding a strong squad for the game.
The Promise Keepers drew the first blood in the 24th minute through Ubong Friday. The pacy winger benefitted from a poor clearance from Rivers United defense to loop a loose ball into an empty net.
The visitors fought back and levelled the scores ten minutes later through Yau Hassan as the first half ended 1-1.
Both sides resumed the second half with great intensity and push for the kill but it was the Promise Keepers that restored their lead through Micheal Ibe who headed in Kodjovi Dadzie’s delightful freekick.
Just when Akwa United thought they had the game within their grasp, Bernard Ovoke scored a late minute goal to ensure his team return to Port Harcourt with a point.
Both teams used the friendly to assess the fitness level of their players ahead of the commencement of the 2018 Aiteo Cup tournament which kick off this weekend in different centres across the country.
Meanwhile, Akwa United will begin the defense of their Aiteo Cup crown against Hope of Glory Football Club of Calabar on Sunday. The Promise Keepers won Nigeria’s oldest football competition last year after beat Niger Tornadoes of Minna in Lagos. The Uyo based side who have lifted the trophy twice in three years (2015&2017) will be hoping to retain their crown this year.