SAMPSON GBADEBO’S EFFORT NOT ENOUGH TO FETCH AKWA UTD POINTS IN UMUAHIA
Sampson Gbadebo’s second half goal fell short of securing a point for Akwa United as goals from Shedrack Asiegbu and an 80th minute effort by Ugwuka Emmanuel helped Abia Warriors to a 2-1 victory at the Umuahia Township Stadium on Match-day 22 of the Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL.
The hosts went in front after 19 minutes when the referee adjudged that goalkeeper Jean Efala had fouled Okon Otop in the box. Shedrack Asiegbu’s spot kick was saved by Efala but the striker reacted quickest to slot home from close range.
Coach Boboye’s men pushed for the equalizer and nearly got it shortly before half-time when Ubong Friday and David Philip combined to release Dara Ojo whose long range effort agonisingly missed the target as Abia Warriors went into the break with 1-0 lead.
Both sides resumed the second half with great intensity but it was the Promise Keepers who restored parity in the 63rd minute through Sampson Gbadebo. The defender made his way through the crowded defense to stab home Morice Chukwu’s superb delivery from a free-kick after a foul on substitute striker Salisu Saidu. It was the defender’s second goal this season after scoring against his former side Rivers United in Uyo in the first stanza of the league.
Coach Kennedy Boboye’s team had a wonderful opportunity to take the lead seven minutes later but top scorer Ndifreke Effiong fired Salisu Saidu’s through ball straight at goalkeeper Godsgift El-Kannah.
The home side poured forward in numbers in search of the winning goal. Ugwuka Emmanuel who appeared to be in an offside position succeeded in bundling the ball home.
The Promise Keepers fought hard for the equalizer but were denied what should have been a free-kick in a good position when goalkeeper El-kannah rushed out of his area to push Ndifreke Effiong down, only for the referee to wave play-on.
Few minutes before the end of the game, El-Kannah produced a brilliant save to deny Ubong Friday what should have been the equalizer and secure all three points for his side.
Despite the defeat, Akwa United remain in 4th position with 33 points from 23 games and will next engage Enyimba International In uyo while Abia Warriors Will travel to Akure to battle Sunshine Stars on Match-day 23.